It’s tempting to throw your cares and your credit cards to the wind when you’re on vacation.
TRAVEL EXPENSES — All 10 tips have the same foundation—prevention. Vacations and travel tend to make us a bit carefree when we are faced with unnecessary expenses. So...
1. Set a spending limit for the entire trip. Use a nice round number and use your receipts to track your progress.
2. Play their game and get the combo package. Websites and travel agencies are filled with "everything included" packages at discount rates. Picking a trip or cruise that is preplanned rather than constructing your own could save you thousands and will still be just as fun.
3. If you are road tripping, plan your stops and destinations ahead of time. Give yourself time to look for hotel deals or stay in a campground for one of your nights. Also, if you will be staying in the same hotel for at least 2 nights you can almost always get an extra discount.
4. Make sure your car is in tiptop condition and you will save money on gas (and you won't break down). Learn ways that you can improve your miles per gallon.
5. Eat out every now and then instead of every meal. Bring your own snacks, drinks and bottled water or buy them at a grocery store to avoid the premiums charged at gas stations and road stops.
6. When you do eat out, ask around and find the places where the locals stop. At Times Square the pizza shop around the corner costs 50% less and tastes every bit as good (some are even better) as the restaurants that have expensive frontage.
7. Take pictures instead of souvenirs. Your house is already full of stuff that you need to dust and pictures will capture the moment and your memory better.
The best way to shop for souvenirs is to preplan them. If your living room needs a new lamp and you were planning to get one for $60 then take the money with you and look for one on your trip.
8. Relax! Don’t try and squeeze every possible side trip, event, concert and meal into one vacation. Instead, take a leisurely walk and enjoy some local uniqueness—walks are free.
9. Stay healthy. I’m betting trips to the doctor were not in your original budget. Stick to your daily routine. Drink enough water, exercise, take your pills and if you are somewhere foreign, make sure you drink clean beverages and eat well-cooked food.
10. Protect yourself from theft and loss. Use credit cards instead of cash and keep careful track of your wallet or purse.
And don't forget to have a friend check on your house while you're gone.