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  • Stretching Your Travel Budget: How to Make the Most of Every Penny

    Your travel budget is a vital part of an enjoyable vacation. While many see them as restrictive, having a travel budget can actually be freeing, as you won’t need to worry about overspending. This allows you to focus more on enjoying your vacation, instead of being dragged down by a fear of running out of money and needing to take on excessive credit card debt.

    On the opposite end however, those on a budget may feel a bit limited to what they can and can’t purchase. In order to avoid these difficulties, here are some easy to follow tips that will help you stretch your travel budget and make the most of your vacation!

    Track Your Spending

    To make the most out of your budget, keep an eye on your spending habits during your trip. To begin with, this plays an important role in helping you avoid overspending and can let you know when you’re close to spending too much or going over your budget in a certain category. Activities or souvenirs can be tempting to purchase, so having a set limit on your finances can ensure you have enough money for necessities.

    There are a few options you could consider for effectively tracking your spending. You can do so by downloading a budgeting app, which will automatically track your purchases and set limits on how much you’re spending. Alerts and real-time notifications are also possible through your bank account, which can show a visual of your balance every time you make a purchase. Overall, staying updated with your checking account balance and budget will help you stick to your money goals and can help you avoid unnecessary expenses.

    Find and Avoid Hidden Fees

    Some parts of the travel industry are notorious for having fees, especially when it comes to planning your flight and finding a hotel. The unfortunate truth about these fees is that many of them slip under the radar, and most people find them taking a toll on their budget without even realizing it until it’s too late.

    This is why it’s important to be extra vigilant when shopping for anything before or while you’re traveling. Always read the fine print, and only use services that are expressly listed as included in the initial purchase. For example, some hotels have minibars, extra TV channels, and high-speed internet available for easy access. However, the catch is that they all have small fees that can add up quickly.

    Make an effort to avoid foreign transaction fees as well. If you’re using cash in a foreign country, it is likely to be cheaper if you buy the currency at a local bank as opposed to a foreign exchange service in your home country. By using these options,you can eliminate delivery costs. 

    If you plan to use a debit card, find one that’s linked to a checking account without foreign transaction fees. These are small, 3% charges on every purchase made in a foreign country.  While they might not seem like much at first, they can add up quickly over time. By taking hidden fees out of the equation, you’ll have more room in your budget for things you really want to spend money on during your travels.

    Use Coupons

    Coupons are a great way to save some additional money. While most people associate couponing with grocery shopping and magazines, coupons are now making their way into the digital age. Coupons can now be found in a variety of ways, especially when online shopping, where most stores will offer discounts on a regular basis through discount codes. These often provide free shipping or other small bonuses, and the travel industry frequently offers a variety of discount codes for a variety of services.

    When shopping online, be sure to set your browser to incognito mode and turn off cookies. Doing so will remove certain filters out of commonly searched terms so your travel requests won’t reflect a price that is based on the popularity of that service. By turning cookies off, tracking isn’t possible, and prices will stay consistently lower.

    Always Find Alternatives

    Finally, wherever you travel, it’s likely you’ll want to buy a few souvenirs. Many tourist locations are full of shops, but that the downside is that these places often charge much higher prices than the souvenirs are worth.

    If you find an item you like, first check Amazon or other web stores for the same product. Chances are they’ll have it available at a lower price, and you can have it shipped directly to your house. (An added bonus as you’ll save money on luggage fees as well!) 

    If you do want to buy the souvenir on location for sentimental value, make sure you spend some time shopping at a few different stores to find the best deal and avoid overspending too. Taking that extra bit of time to find the best deal may cause many travelers to worry they won’t find the exact item they’re looking for, but most tourist shops get their items from a similar supplier, so you’re bound to find what you want.

    Having a travel budget does not need to be stressful and can actually make your experience more enjoyable! By putting limits on spending, you still have a wide array of options when it comes to shopping. By using these tips, you’ll be able to make the most of every dollar!

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