It’s Worth Spending on These Things When You Travel
You’ve probably read articles that tell you how to save on your travels. I have written those before too; this time, I’ll tell you what’s worth spending more on. It can save you a world of pain or simply make you a more responsible traveller.
A common tip when booking flights is to use Skyscanner, Momondo or Google Flights to find the best fares. These sites compare results from both online travel agencies (OTAs) and airline websites and the former usually provide the lowest fares, if only by a few dollars.
However, I usually book directly with airlines. For one, requests for special meals, award flights and other assistance are certain to go through. If shit happens, it’s also easier to deal with airline representatives than with OTAs. My friends have described the horror of airport desk agents telling them to contact their travel agent when their early-morning flights were cancelled. For me, it’s worth spending extra on travel fares just for the peace of mind. Speaking of trouble, you’ve got to read the next section.
(I’m not as afraid of dealing with OTAs when I book rooms. It’s usually easy to verify the booking with the property and the stakes are lower.)
Don’t go without insurance! It may cost anywhere from $10 to $80, depending on the length of your trip, your destination and any promotions. However, that usually outweighs the cost of getting caught without it.
Some banks provide free insurance when you make bookings using their credit cards. Don’t be complacent; be sure it covers inconveniences, accidents and medical expenses. Have a copy of the policy saved somewhere so that you know who to call and what documents you need to make a claim.
Someone’s bound to correct me later on this but I usually get the cheapest policy that covers everything. The larger payouts don’t matter to me.
It’s tempting to rough it out at the cheapest hostel you can find. If you can’t sleep through someone else’s snoring, however, consider a smaller dormitory. In addition, I check with friends and peruse online reviews to be sure that I won’t be sleeping above a nightclub or sharing my quarters with bed bugs. If the least expensive option doesn’t cut it on these fronts, I’m prepared to pay more.
In the middle of longer trips, I also schedule a couple of nights in a room to myself. This helps me remain sane after weeks with very little privacy.
Being a responsible property isn’t cheap either, so if you know of one that gives back to the local community and cares about the environment, go out of your way to support them with your patronage. I also avoid staying in an Airbnb unless I’m certain that it hasn’t deprived a local of a house. When landlords do that to popular neighbourhoods, you see only other tourists, not locals. That, in turn, forces local businesses to cater to tourists. How is that authentic?
It’s tempting to raid the hostel kitchen for bread and live on that throughout the trip, especially in Europe. However, I don’t think it’s meaningful to do so. Anywhere in the world, food is an important product of the people’s history and their culture and it’s a pity to miss that. That doesn’t mean you have to splurge at cafes and restaurants; markets are usually the best places to go and find kebabs, sandwiches, pizza/flammkuchen slices, pierogi and wursts. In Japan, convenience stores are legit places to get local food like oden, beef rice bowls, grilled skewers and fried chicken.
If you’re still worried about bursting your budget, remember that you can still cut back on partying, taking taxis, trite souvenirs and checked bags. Let us know in the comments if you have other suggestions!