Wow, this food is expensive!
Unless you absolutely can’t avoid it, don’t waste your hard-earned money on airport food. In an airport, you are a captive audience, so they will charge insanely high prices for everything. If you just can’t stand waiting, I recommend something small like a pretzel.
Even when I’m rolling through the airport at a typical mealtime, I’ll only have a snack. Personally, I’d rather save my money and appetite for the really good food when I arrive at my destination.
Less is more.
Cash is an easy way of paying for things quickly and conveniently, but it does have some drawbacks:
- One credit or debit card can hold thousands of dollars’ worth of purchasing power, but the same amount of cash puts quite the bulge in your wallet. Save space, travel light on the green.
- Cash is not replaceable. Once that stack of bills you have in your wallet gets lost or stolen, it’s gone. With a card, you can cancel it quickly and conveniently, significantly minimizing any losses you may incur.
I recommend only carrying enough cash for incidentals, such as tips, cab fares and other small purchases you may want to make. For your big souvenir purchases or vacation dinners, credit or debit cards are much more convenient and likely offer rewards to offset some of the cost.
“Hey, I’m leaving the eastern time zone!”
For your protection, many financial institutions will block cards that show unusual use. For example, being used on vacation in San Francisco, California, when you typically only use your card in the tri-county area. While this may seem like a hassle, it really is for your protection and is avoided by simply calling and letting your financial institution know where you are going to be and for how long.
For the cash you do carry, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I may be going a bit far, but when I travel I carry some in my wallet, some in my checked bag, some in my carry-on and I’ve even been known to stash some in my sock. (Note: take stashed cash out of socks before going through security!) If one or more of these items gets lost or stolen, you should have something stashed away to fall back on. At the very least, I recommend splitting your cash into two separate locations, such as your wallet and your luggage.
Have fun, but be safe!
Of course, the most important part of vacationing is to have fun, but remember to be safe about it. Don’t flaunt the fact that you are a tourist or that you have a bunch of cash in your wallet. Heavy tourist locations are notorious for having a lot of people who will try to take advantage of the unwary vacationer.
Use the comments below to talk about your best money-saving travel tips.