The problem with going on vacation is you have to come back to your post-vacation bills – strange, often indecipherable charges to your credit card that always add up to more than you allocated. But good planning and a little presearch can help you avoid scary surcharges and unexpected tariffs. Herewith, a few tips for better budgeting your summer getaway:
1. Call your bank. Make sure they know you’re going away. Figure out how and where you’ll exchange money, and always exchange money at a local bank over an airport kiosk.
2. Plan ahead. It may seem romantic to just say you’ll wing it when it comes to accommodation, car rentals and the like, but you will almost always pay more for less. Pre-booking will save you money and stress. And moneystress.
3. Book hotels that offer free breakfast. Again, you imagine yourself stumbling out of bed and wandering the streets in search of a fresh croissant and café au lait (or Café Cortado, depending on your travel fantasy). You can do that, but take the hotel with the free breakfast just the same.
4. Consider homeswapping. There are great sites that can help you navigate a home swap. It’s easier if you live somewhere someone wants to go, but take some nice photos of your place and see if you can convince that Italian villa owner to swap with you for a week.
7. Don’t be seduced by the moment. The phrase ‘why not, we’re on vacation’ will be responsible for 98% of those mysterious charges to your credit card. Plan your vacation so you don’t feel the need to spend gobs of money on impromptu amenities, food or wax museums.