Are you ready for a few confessions of situations I avoided paying a lot of money for things? Sure, I’m all in for splurging every now. and then, but as a long term traveler you have to pick your favorites, you can’t do it every trip (unless you’re a millionaire, but I’m not). We all know we should keep a travel emergency fund but sometimes unexpected expenses can arise that prompt you to spend more than you originally planned. Don’t miss out on fun experiences by avoiding these costly travel mistakes.
Book a last minute flight or room
Last minute hotel rooms and flight tickets cheaper than pre-booked? Not really. That one time I just went to the airport to buy a ticket on the counter, was one of my most expensive flight ticket experiences. The problem? You can’t shop for cheaper tickets, or compare. So always buy your tickets in advance, let’s say at least 24 hours and not 2 hours before the flight departures. I’ve purchased flight tickets just one day before and that was a much better experience. Same with hotel rooms and hostel beds. Same day is usually not a really good idea unless you’re already staying in the hostel and want to extend (although, that’s not always possible in busy cities). Two or three days to a week in advance and you’re okay, but the same day is not the best way to book your bed.
Not investing before you leave
Sometimes I think: pack light, you can buy most things when you need them. But usually, especially before long-term travel, I do invest in good Travel Gear, because most stuff is just cheaper or better at home. Of course, if you’re traveling from the States to Europe it doesn’t really matter where you get it, but when you travel from Europe to Asia it does. In Asia, I found a lot of drug store related items expired, or just baked in the sun. In Australia everything is expensive, so I prefer to get things at home if I’m almost sure I need them. And yes, I compared prices with stores like H&M to home with items I always buy like hair ties, and yes it was more expensive in Australia so next time I’ll buy a new pack at home before I leave!
Too much investing before you leave
On the other hand, don’t get too caught up with buying everything just in case. Travel gear is a lot of fun to shop, but do you really need all the gadgets in the world to survive? Probably not. Just bring your toiletry essentials, a good first aid (travel kit) kit, clothes and your digital necessaries and you’re good to go! I have my carry on packing list in detail here, if you want to learn more about the things I bring on a trip!
Not grabbing your ATM receipts
How I ALMOST lost $300 but in the end got it back after a few months while traveling? Read about that story here. Quick lesson: always get an ATM receipt and make sure you have a good travel backup fund before you leave. My course $5k in 21-days helps with getting that travel fund in order just in three weeks!
Not researching the (festival) calendar
I once pulled an all-nighter in Las Vegas, after all hotels were fully booked (or $400+ a night). I had been in Vegas for a few weeks already but did not know about a big music festival that weekend. When we learned we could not extend our hotel room that night, we stayed up all night. You’d think that there’s no better place that Vegas to do so, but in the end, it was harder than I thought. Sure, till 8 am I was ok, we danced, bowled, ate and walked around but after 6 am the streets were indeed deserted, and the city went asleep. At 8 am I was so tired… but we had to wait to at least 12.30 before we could check into the hotel again… those last few hours were, though. Never again for me! Of course this all could be avoided if we paid the $400 a night, but for me, that wasn’t worth it.