I think there’s a big misconception out there about what it means to travel. For many of us, travel conjures up images of long, luxurious, and expensive vacations to exotic destinations. That’s one way to travel, but most of don’t live the kind of lives or have the kind of jobs that allow for this frequently.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive or luxurious to be fun and adventurous. If you’re willing to do some extra work up front, take a few risks, and break a few habits, it will open up a whole new world of travel–and it will save you tons of time, money, and disappointment.
These are the 7 biggest travel habits you should break when you’re planning your next trip.
1. Paying full price for anything. In years past, travel meant getting a travel agent to try to help you find deals or get package rates. Now, there is so much power in our own hands as the consumers: travel apps, airfare watch websites, rewards programs, travel credit cards. There’s just no reason to pay full price when there are so many ways to score deals. It certainly takes more work and may require a little inconvenience, but it’s often worth it. For our Colorado trip, Dan and I saved $100 per ticket by choosing inconvenient (totally crazy) flight times, but why wouldn’t we save the $200 given the chance?
2. Booking a hotel too far in advance. Kind of the like the one above, booking a room too far in advance often costs more. There are so many apps for finding a great hotel room at a steal if you’re willing to wait until the last minute and possibly not stay in the perfect location (for example, check out Hotels Tonight). Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the box with programs like AirBnB, which are ideal for longer stays in one location. (If you’re doing some sort of all-inclusive resort, though, this is definitely not the time to book a hotel last minute. You’ll get the best deal by booking airfare and hotel together far in advance.)
3. Overplanning your schedule. I’m often guilty of this one. I want to see and do and experience all the things! I want to go, go, go until I drop into my bed at the end of the night. This is the opposite of my style of living in regular life, and as much as I love to get as much as possible out of my vacations, this often leaves me exhausted instead of rejuvenated at the end of a trip. Definitely do your research and decide on a couple of must-sees for your trip, but don’t worry about seeing everything. Allow yourself the time and space to wander, stumble into unexpected places, and see things you may have missed if you were staring at your phone’s GPS trying to get to the next location.
4. Overpacking your suitcase. Again, I’m guilty of this one too often, as I confessed to you a few weeks ago. For one thing, pack a carry-on if at all possible. It saves you time at the airport, the possibility of your suitcase getting lost, and money on checked bags. (But, if you’re flying Spirit, Frontier, or other budget airlines, it’s often cheaper to check a bag than to take a carry-on. Read the fine print carefully. We we fly Spirit, Dan and I share a bigger checked bag and carry backpacks as our free personal items to keep costs minimal.) Pack pieces that are versatile and will take you from exploring during the day to dinner at night with a simple accessory change. Also, be cognizant of where you’re going. There’s no need to bring five sundresses to Colorado, or workout clothing to an all-inclusive resort. (You may think you’re going to do a workout, but that buffet will get the best of you.)
5. Eating out for every meal. This will blow through your budget so quickly. Pack or shop for groceries locally, and plan to eat out when you have to or when it’s for a special day. I try to eat out just once a day while I’m traveling. Choose a hotel that has breakfast included, or eat cheap granola bars or nuts. Pack sandwiches and snacks to get you through to dinner. Then really enjoy yourself with a dinner that is representative of the place you’re visiting, and don’t feel even a little guilty about spending the money.
6. Buying souvenirs. We want mementos for ourselves to remember our travels by. We want to share that experience with our families and friends by bringing them gifts. But if you packed a carry-on, you probably can’t fit all these. And many of these items will end up at the back of a closet or collecting dust, because let’s be honest, most of what I’m tempted to buy just doesn’t match the rest of my house. Instead, focus on creating memories you can take with you, capture priceless pictures and actually print and frame them (something I’m terrible about doing), and invest in experiences instead of things on your trip.
7. Being afraid to explore off the beaten path. It’s easy to want to stick to touristy destinations. They’re popular for a reason, and they also tend to feel safer because they’re familiar and full of people. I would never go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, of course, but I’d also spend a good amount of time exploring hidden streets and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Not only is it more fun to create a one-of-kind travel experience, it’s often cheaper to get away from the more tourist-heavy areas.
Breaking these travel habits has allowed me to travel more, enjoy my experiences, and come home feeling refreshed.7 #travel habits you need to break on your next #vacation. Click To Tweet