Lori Wagoner points out the the real money extractors:
What to buy in your trips that will actually cut expenditure and increase savings
Travel is a panacea for most people. The “getaway” has multiple meanings depending on what you are getting away from. Travel loosens up your mind, frees your soul, and allows you to dabble with the “fine art of doing nothing” as the Italians like to call it. Travel is an experience that you can’t get reading the “lonely planet” and you won’t ever be able to tell a tale if you don’t travel.
Unfortunately, the recessional economy in the U.S and the simultaneous increase in prices have made travel more expensive than ever before. Of course, your love for travel makes up for the rising costs of travel. Travel, however, doesn’t have to be expensive or require you to hoard up tons of cash only to be spent abroad. Here are a few real money extractors and what you can still buy abroad that won’t cut your expenditure.
Here are ways you could indulge in shopping and still be able to save truckloads of cash:
First things First: Saving Before Going
Research and due diligence goes a long way to help you save cash even before you leave shores. Spending time researching places, booking accommodation in advance (either that or looking for last minute deals). Since your expenses will begin with transport, look for great deals that surface time and again on sites such as FlightNetwork, Expedia, or SkyScanner
Trying to take alternative routes to popular travel and accommodation practices will also work to your benefit.
For instance, spend time putting up requests for hosting on CouchSurfing and you’ll be able to stay with a local (at your destination) and never pay a dime. You could see if you have friends in the country you are visiting and stay with them. Hostels are a favorite for backpackers for a reason – they are incredible value for money. AirBnB.com might just work out to be cheaper than hotels.
Sometimes, planning ahead and booking for flights and accommodation in advance helps you stave off at least 50% of the actual cost.
Forget food. Buy fruit
After you fly and get a bed to sleep on, it’s time to work on food. Avoid hotels and their cuisine as they are always overpriced (unless you paid for a package deal where meals are included). The cheapest way to survive when traveling is to either live on street food (which is incredibly good in most parts of the world) or settle down with ancient favorite in “organic and healthy” food category: fruit.
Make trips to the local market and buy fruit in bulk so that you can spend a few lunch sessions eating food that keeps you healthy and disease-free. If you cannot bear the thought of eating fruit forever, buy vegetables and basic ingredients from the supermarket so that you make your own meals (provided you live in hostels or other accommodation options that have a kitchenette you can use).
Just cutting down on eating out can bring down your overall expenses on food. Further, you’ll even be able to check out exotics like Durian while you are saving on food.
Do indulge, but only once in a while.
Forget the glitz
This is the era of globalization. That also gave rise to the “Fake-onomy”. If you are in the U.S, there’s no reason why you should travel to Singapore and still buy the same stuff you’d find at Macy’s or Nordstrom. When you travel, go local. Buy what the middle-class or poor locals buy (might not apply to all product categories).
You don’t always need to buy designer labels when buying clothes. Look for local flea markets, quaint shops by the roadside, and marketplaces where you can bargain. If wearing designer clothing makes you proud, buying good clothes purchased at a bargain from a foreign land also can.
Invest in smart ways to communicate
Most travelers do the mistake of not buying local SIM cards while traveling and end up on big, fat, roaming charges that their respective telecom companies slap on to the bill. If you can, buy a local SIM card and use that to call back home. You could also dabble with other alternatives such as to avoid phone calls altogether and get into “Email only mode” or “Facebook only mode”. Maybe you could have your friends and family get on Skype to talk to you. If you could, you’d never have to spend a dime on calling home ever again.
Buy where there is an advantage but avoid souvenirs
It’s just the way of the mob. Just because most travellers buy souvenirs doesn’t mean you ought to buy them too. For one, you don’t have to spend on souvenirs just to show people back home that you did travel – you really don’t have to explain, prove, or justify your need to travel or the fact that you did travel. Second, there’s nothing you’d get from a souvenir except to remind you that you were “there” – your beautiful mind already has those memories.
If you have to buy, indulge in items that are available for cheap abroad. Southeast Asia is home to electronics are great bargains. If laptops are cheaper in Malaysia, Singapore, or Hong Kong, it makes sense to buy a new laptop when you travel. Clothes, shoes, and many other products are cheaper in Southeast Asia compared to the west. So, buy products when you can see the advantage – the savings can be phenomenal, or they can be not worth the trouble and the extra weight.
Travel free and buy smart – that’s the motto. There’s no point in traveling halfway around the world and ending up spending so much that it’s the guilt that eats you up after your bank account already depleted.
What do you buy when you travel? What makes sense for you to buy (or not buy) when you reach faraway lands? Please share your experiences with us.
Lori Wagoner has been working as a freelance writer for a long time. She loves to travel different places and likes to share her experiences with people to give them an idea about the best destinations and deals.