Today, I am excited to share a guest post from CD Ambassador Sandra Sentell. Join Sandra as she shares four tips for saving money – while still eating well -on the road, set against the backdrop of a five-country vacation! Welcome, Sandra!
What does visiting 5 countries and traveling to 10 cities in a matter of 14 days have in common? Each makes for an unbelievable adventure, of course! But let’s be real here, these adventures can also be quite pricey.
Two friends and I recently took a trip to Belgium, Luxembourg, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. While we knew this would be a trip of a lifetime, we still planned to do it on a budget. We wanted to see all the European sights and relish in as many African safaris as we could. Our other main focus was culture. We wanted to experience the food, the atmosphere, and the people.
Below, I discuss 4 ways that you can save money while still enjoying that once-in-a-lifetime trip.
1. Buy local. Seems pretty self explanatory, right? Wrong. It’s so easy to go to a grocery store while on vacation and flock to the brands you are already buying in the States. Don’t do it! The prices of these products are inflated and much higher than,say, the chips that are made in a factory locally in-country. Not only that, isn’t the whole reason you are traveling to get a culinary and cultural experience? Discover the local delicacy or snack instead.
2. Cook at your hostel or lodge. While of course we enjoyed dinners at local eateries, we also made our own restaurant – at our safari lodge! After a successful day at Krueger National Park in South Africa, where we spotted lions, elephants, leopards, and giraffes, we headed in for the night and cooked dinner overlooking the Crocodile Bridge, with the humidity sticking to our faces and the animals noises abound.
3. Ask questions via social media. Before I leave for a trip, I post a question on social media asking who has been to the particular country and their for recommendations. It’s always helpful to hear reviews of restaurants, shows, excursions, etc. from someone you can trust. Less surprises means money saved! Also, it puts me at ease knowing that I have a first-hand opinion on a subject and am not strictly relying on websites or online reviews.
4. Bring the right credit card. I understand if you are one of those travelers who exchanges money at a currency booth and doesn’t use credit. Regardless, I still think it is important to have a credit card handy for emergencies at the bare minimum. Personally, I bring a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, saving me around 3% per purchase. Travel credit cards are often linked with rewards including dining out. Therefore, if you use your credit card internationally at a restaurant, you could be saving the foreign transaction fee of 3% and often making 1-2% in rewards or cash back. Cha-ching!