(By Lara Ruth)
“If you only stick to the main streets, you may be missing some of the best that the city has to offer. Exploring side streets can help you find interesting local cafes and sights. If you have contacts who have been to or used to live in your destination city, take advantage of their recommendations. Not only are they more likely to recommend local favorites, but their recommendations are also more likely to have reasonable prices.“
For the second year in a row, I left NYC for vacation during the week of July 4th, subconsciously opting for cooler climates. Last year, it was San Francisco. This year? Dublin! I didn’t have the chance to plan ahead as much as I usually do, seeing as I ended up moving apartments the day before we flew out. I did manage to plan out at least enough to set up a basic itinerary and to come up with a list of some things I wanted to keep in mind during my vacation. It’s amazing how a few little things, if kept in mind, can make quite a difference in your spending.
Sometimes on foot is the best transit. Read up on the mass transit system before you go. It didn’t take too much research for me to see that Dublin’s bus, train, and tram system wasn’t going to be a huge help for us as we navigated the area we wanted to see. Though it meant a bit of walking, it was totally doable for anyone who’s used to navigating daily sans car. Forgoing the bus helped to save on money (and maximize the percentage of the city we were able to see).
Go where the locals go. If you only stick to the main streets, you may be missing some of the best that the city has to offer. Exploring side streets can help you find interesting local cafes and sights. If you have contacts who have been to or used to live in your destination city, take advantage of their recommendations. Not only are they more likely to recommend local favorites, but their recommendations are also more likely to have reasonable prices.
Exchange money before you go. I made a point of going to my local Citibank branch to exchange money the week before my flight. This was very helpful as the fees to withdraw money abroad proved to be quite high. It can be hard to anticipate access to money exchange facilities, as they can often only be clustered around certain parts of major cities. I also found bringing a set amount of cash was a helpful way keep me on budget and strategize my souvenir purchases, and it helped me keep from coming back with a suitcase full of unnecessary items.
Reward yourself (via your credit card). This trip, I made sure to get a Citi ThankYou® card. Any purchases I did not make in cash I made with the card. In doing so, I knew I was earning ThankYou® Points on my purchases, which I can use towards planning for my next trip!
Sleep on the plane and power through on day one. If you’re traveling overseas, the time difference can make that first day a struggle. To maximize your vacation time (and the money you spent to get there) try to keep pushing through, and maybe make that first day an early one. Can’t do it? Limit yourself to a quick nap, with concrete plans on the other side. Plans to sleep until you “feel better” seldom end with just a short nap.
Early dinner can payoff. Similar to what you often see in bigger cities in the US, electing to eat dinner earlier than the local norm or during peak times can lead to big savings. Many restaurants offer discounted meals or even prix fixe options during earlier windows. As an added bonus, this can leave your evening open for other exploring or activities on your must-do list.
It’s hard to go wrong with free breakfast. As much as a hotel breakfast can vary in quality, it’s always nice to know it’s there. With the other things you’ll be rushing to take care of, it’s great to know that there’s something available right where you’re staying. You never know, you could be like I was this trip and find out you aren’t staying close to a quick, inexpensive breakfast option. Eating a hotel breakfast will save you not only money but also time.
Whether travelling across the globe or not too far from home, these tips can work for many types of vacations. Have you travelled this year? What savings tricks have you used to help keep you on budget while on the road?
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”