Travelling within a budget relies on hard work and research, but the payoff is definitely worth the extra effort. Here are 10 money-related travel myths to look out for:
- Only bring cash or traveler’s checks when travelling internationally
Keeping money safe while travelling does not mean hiding a fattened wallet full of cash and traveler’s checks under your clothes. Most banks have international and domestic partners that allow you to use their ATM for minimal to no fees. They may offer other services such as foreign currency delivery. It is also safer to take out only as much cash as you need at a time.
- Never use a credit card
Check what exchange rates your company offers to find the right card to use oversees. Many offer attractive exchange rates as well as travel reward points. Take precautions and only use your credit card at reputable retailers. Keep an eye on your statement and report any fraudulent activity as you are not responsible for these charges.
- Low cost means low quality
Being thrifty does not put your travel plans at risk. Travelling during off-seasons will allow you to see popular destinations at the lowest possible price, as well as avoiding the crowds. Travelling to less popular places will save you money, which you can use to enjoy other perks.
- Never book a room with free breakfast
Hotels that don’t offer free breakfast could save you money in some cases, especially since breakfast is one of the most affordable meals of the day. But in other cases, this bare-bones discount hotel might not be your best bet. Make sure to research alternative breakfast locations around the hotel. The added transportation costs to travel to breakfast restaurants could add up to more than the money you’re saving. Some resorts may not even have any good breakfast alternatives nearby.
- Splurging on a taxi is the safest option
Although it may seem convenient, travelling alone in a taxi is expensive, and potentially dangerous. Public transportation can be a cost-effective and convenient alternative to cabs, especially with the use of Google Maps, Transit and other smart phone apps. In some destinations, there are designated train cars and buses for women, and buses that allow you to alight closer to your destination during the night hours. Many hotels also offer shuttle services to and from airports.
- Travel rentals are cheaper than a hotel
Online rentals such as Airbnb have changed the way we travel, and allow the additional perks of kitchen and laundry facilities. But the best bargains are not always found here. In locations such as Las Vegas, hotel rooms are bundled with air-fare and breakfast, and the overall costs are far lower. Hotels also have great end-of-season deals that Airbnb hosts often don’t provide.
- Third party sites offer the best rates
According to the New York Times, an increasing number of hotel chains now offer a lowest-price guarantee for guests who book directly through the hotel. You can also call the hotel to check for special promotions not advertised online, and to request special rates or benefits such as free parking.
- Always tip employees
Employees at certain resort chains are instructed not to accept tips, while others tell guests that tipping is appreciated, but not expected. Check your hotel’s policy on gratuity while budgeting for your trip. When travelling internationally, research the local stance on tipping, as some cultures may even see tipping as an offensive action.
- Duty-free shops are always a bargain
If you plan to stock up on duty-free items such as cigarettes and alcohol, make sure to jot down the price you usually pay, as well as the limits you can bring across the border. These shops can mark up prices at their discretion, and may even charge a premium on luxury items.
- Travel insurance isn’t worth it
In the case that your trip is inexpensive, and covered by your existing health insurance, travel insurance is an unnecessary expense. But the more expensive, and remote your adventure becomes, the more risks you face. Travel insurance covers against large financial losses such as trip cancellation, accidents, missed flights and other costly incidents.