The confessions came pouring in last week and one thing is clear, we all have some serious guilt when it comes to overspending on vacations.
Many of you admitted that when you head out on your getaway, your budget stays at home. We can relate. Below is one of our favourite confessions, followed by our most fabulous travel tips:
Dear Smart Cookies,
Over the holidays, my boyfriend and I decided that we needed a romantic getaway. At the last minute, we decided that we would spend our two weeks vacation in Europe. After all, what could be more romantic than new years in Paris? We flew by the seats of our pants for two weeks, travelling to London, Paris and Rome. By the end of our first week we were out of money and had to put the rest of our trip on credit cards. Now, four months later we are still paying off the $3,000 we racked up in just one week.
Stung by Europe
Luxury Travel — Smart Cookie Style
>> Think about travelling to Europe in the fall or spring, when the rates are less expensive than during the peak summer and winter seasons.
>> Consider a destination with lower off-season rates. If you’re holidaying in the summer, try a tropical destination or a winter hot spot, like a ski resort.
>> Accommodations in city centres will always be much more costly, so why not stay in smaller neighbouring towns? Just make sure the area offers an efficient, inexpensive transportation system, like a subway or train, to get you in and out of the action of the city centre.
>> Another option for plush and inexpensive accommodations is vacation rentals by owners. You can stay in a deluxe condo or waterfront home for a fraction of the cost of a five-star hotel. Check out sites like vrbo.com for great rentals around the world.
>> If you are planning to visit multiple cities, arrange to spend more time in the less expensive areas on your itinerary.
You may not want to miss out on visiting the “must sees” but they may well cost twice as much as equally charming but less popular spots. For example, England and France cost far more than Portugal or Croatia, but the latter cities have just as much to offer.
>> If you are booking a flight online, first try your favourite travel search engine to find the lowest fare airline. Then check out that airline’s website directly. Some travel search engines’ prices are slightly higher to cover service fees.
>> When exploring a new city, fill up on breakfast as it’s often the cheapest meal of the day — hello breakfast buffet!
No matter what your perfect vacation may be, you should come back recharged, not racked with the guilt of bulging credit card balances. With a little planning you can enjoy your time away knowing you’ve still got money in the bank at home.
If you would like to share a confession or have questions, please e-mail email@example.com.