Holidays are around the corner.

If you are anything like me, you wouldn’t have had anything close to planning a trip, let alone buying a ticket, which by the way, skyrocketed in prices. 

While we are at it, let’s just give an applause to those who are not like me — the ones who actually did buy a ticket and plan a trip. 

Being on my spending less mission, I asked women from all over the world a simple question, in one of my favorite groups on Facebook, The Solo Female Traveler Network

What do you do to not overspend in vacations?

In just a one day, I have received more than 300+ responses. Crazy impressive, right? It’s beautiful to be part of this community that would support women from any spot of the world, traveling to any part of the world, even if that support was just emotional. 

That said, I have taken the liberty to summarize what they shared with me here on this list, leaving the names out, to respect the ladies privacy. After all, it’s a private group. 

Planning is a must

1. Know the purpose of your trip 

“I decide before hand if it’s a shopping trip, or if it’s an eating and touring trip.”

“I think being really thoughtful about it ahead of time and determining what your priorities are. What are the things that really make a trip feel special? it’s different for everyone. Sometimes, if I want to stay in a nice hotel, I’ll get dinner from the grocery store or food trucks to save money. I love scouting out dinner at a decent grocery store. And just don’t shop for anything but affordable mementos of your trip. I try to avoid budgeting so hard that I feel deprived while avoiding putting anything on my credit card. There’s no bigger bummer after a vacation than debt you don’t want.”

2. Plan way in advance

“I pre book 6 months and pay for my accomodation in advance, travel on budget airline, buy train tickets in advance to save, buy pre made meals from supermarkets or eat near local marts, rent a car if trains’ too pricey, stay at private room hostels to meet others”

3. Research and plan your own itinerary

“Research the cost of things so you know what you’re expected to pay!!! And pre-booking whatever you can”

“I read history/facts on the places I will visit, avoiding spending on tours”

“I always put together a trip itinerary spreadsheet before I head off, that has an outlines budget — then while I’m travelling I make a copy and update it as I go with actual amounts spent.. makes keeping track of the budget and spending so easy!!”

Food is a major budget swallower

4. Don’t buy anything from the airport

“Never spend money in an airport”

“ I buy food before going to the airport. I love coffee. So I’ll buy snacks from a supermarket and treat myself to sitting in a cafe. Or I’ll have a cheap dinner and a decent breakfast.”

5. Eat out only once at dinner time. 

“I get food from the markets to eat and only eat out once per day.”

“Try out doing one sit down meal per day. I would go all out for dinner but breakfast might be latte, lunch-ice cream or something cheap but locally revered. Even better find a hotel that does free breakfast!”

6. Use TripAdvisor to find cheap and great restaurants to dine

“tripadvisor -> restaurants -> the best of the cheapest or mid-ranged. Works everytime”

7. Have a list of the food you want to try

“I always like to set a list of things I want to try from that country in terms of food, but sometimes preparing a meal yourself can be added in and save you money- especially breakfast. Drop by the grocery store to pick up some protein bars to get sightseeing faster, but maybe the next day do a sit down cafe. Treat yourself but know when it’s a good time to do that.”

“I travel to mainly see the sights and all, but food is a large aspect of culture and that’s where a lot of my money goes. I have a list of things that I really want to try in each city and so I don’t forget / to tick off. The rest, I plan to buy at the supermarket.”

8. And don’t forget to indulge in street food

“street food! I rarely eat at expensive restaurants”

9. Book a bed and breakfast, eat as much as you can, and while you are at it, grab some fruit for snacks during the day. 

“I stay in a hotel that includes breakfast in rate. Have one meal in the evening. Pack healthy snacks. Avoid mall shopping. Which is easier said than done 😂😂😂”

“ I buy food for breakfast and lunch to prepare myself and limit out to eat. I do like to enjoy area cuisine, but try to limit to once per day.”

10. Even better if you can pack lunch from the breakfast buffet

“If I’m in a hotel with breakfast I make lunch from that and put it in my bag for the day e.g a sandwich, muffin or croissant. So I only have to pay for the evening meal while abroad”

“Free breakfasts at my hostel is a must! I usually try and sneak some food at breakfast to eat for my lunch or a snack too, so that I can save a bit extra 🙂”

11. Buy groceries and make your own breakfast

“I only eat when I’m hungry and try to hit up a local market/grocer when I’m traveling. I spent €10 at a grocer in Dublin and got 5 breakfasts out of it.”

12. Maybe even cook all your meals and feel healthier

“Buy groceries when I’m there instead of eating at restaurants”

“I rent an apt when possible so I can at least eat breakfast and most dinners at the apt if possible I take a lunch sometime but I do like to eat put on occasion”

“get a kinife fork & spoon. go to the grocery store buy fruit, cheese, nuts, avacados etc…also, feel much healthier”

13. Make your own coffee too?

“ I use Couchsurfing when I can and keep a tent with me. Hostel with breakfast is a must, and I bring a mini coffee maker in my backpack that I bought in Peru to save me a lot of money on buying so much expensive coffee. 😊”

14. Or just get an all-inclusive package

“All inclusive”

“Book all inclusive and/or pay for as much as possible in advance. Otherwise set up a daily budget.”

15. And finally, get booze from the store or skip it altogether

“Buy alcohol from stores instead of paying for drinks at the hotel lol sounds silly but has saved me so much”

“I’m in Las Vegas right now with my besties. We have “happy and appy hour” in our room or by the pool with the food we bought from grocery store. We do go out too, but no need to go out to eat and drink ALL the time and this saves money big time.”

“Food and drink always adds up for me, so I just make sure I got to a local supermarket and eat cheap meals. Also, if im going out ill buy a bottle of spirits and smash that before heading out.”

“Also try not to spend too much on drinks as it only burns a hole in your funds and makes you drowsy the next day!!.”

“Try to stay out of the bars”

Who said fancy hotels?

16. Stay in hostels or airbnb

“I stay in hostels as often as I can so that I can spend $ on activities and food — I love going to restaurants and so am happy to sleep cheaper! Also I use ff points for most international/long haul flights. Also walking in new cities is something I love to do, and free!”

“Airbnb is a help — and keeping up the environmental awareness!! 🌿”

“Stay in hostels, eat in local joints, don’t shop much, use public transport….incidentally, these are all out of choice as preferences, not only to save money…it’s how I love to travel”

“stay in hostels, and only spend the cash I’m carrying”

17. Volunteer and get food and accommodation for free

“If you have enough time you could volunteer somewhere and get a room and food for free 🙂”

“Volunteer in hostels/farms in exchange for food and accommodation. When I’m not doing that I camp or stay in hostels. Cook my own food, occasionally eat street food. Take public transport. Take overnight buses that double as accommodation when possible. 
Make friends with locals and stay with them.”

18. Use Couchsurfing

“I use Couchsurfing for everything! That makes a world of difference, that way when I splurge on a dinner, a spa treatment, or anything (especially a host gift!) I’ve still saved TONS of Money!”

19. And while you are away, put your apartment on airbnb and let it pay for your vacation

“I put my apartment up for air bnb when I’m out of town and it balances out my costs”

Transportation is… Unavoidable

20. Walk if you can 

“Stay in hostels, cook my own food, walk everywhere”

21. Use public transportation, avoid taxis

“Quit the shopping unless necessary, travel in public transport, avoid taxis, indulge in your experiences only for yourself and not to bring a million souvenirs home, go local”

“public transport whenever I can”

22. Or rent a car

“Don’t do any shopping unnecessarily. I usually rent a car and do my own free and easy itinerary. Join tour very expensive”

Tours and sightseeing are the core of any trip

23. Stay away from tourist trap spots 

“ I stopped buying souvenirs for my family and myself and stopped shopping. In addition I stay away from tourist trap spots for food and drinks- drink house wine!”

“looking for the cheapest accommodation, eating street food or cooking if possible, asking locals for interesting places instead of following the crowds to tourist traps.”

24. Opt-in to those free walking tours

“Free group walking tours are the best! Some of my favorite memories from various trips. They are usually led by natives who truly want to be there & share their knowledge & experience, bc they’re not getting paid to do it”

“In expensive countries I cook my own food or buy from supermarkets. I do free walking tours where I can just tip. I also like Airbnb as it’s cheaper. 
Getting cash out when I arrive and only spending that helps too.”

25. Perhaps even don’t go on tours and arrange everything yourself

“Don’t go on tours but arrange everything myself (which I also very much enjoy). Take public transport. Eat streetfood. Don’t buy bottled water (tapwater + steripen). Get lunch at markets. Don’t buy souvenirs.”

Live like a local

26. Eat like local

“Eat like locals. $2 will fill you up in a lot of developing countries.”

“Eat like a local 😊”

27. Go out like locals

“I’ll avoid overly touristed places in favour of local places.”

28. Lookup local ladies night

“Buy groceries instead of eating out! Look up local ladies nights”

29. And get a local SIM card

“Getting a sim card is often worth it for the savings of being able to find public transport.”

Skip shopping

30. Stick to necessities

“Never ever shop. I dont really see the point especially if you’re traveling for a while. Would much rather spend money exploring and eating local food”

“Honestly, that is a great answer! It speaks to ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’. If something is so absolutely fantastic that I’d use/wear it for years, I splurge and buy it — like the red leather coat I got in Buenos Aires. Usually, however, after assessing need vs want, I can easily walk away. I was recently in Australia 🇦🇺, Fiji 🇫🇯, Bali 🇮🇩, + New Zealand 🇳🇿, and spent under $20 (apart from food) in 7 weeks. My $15.00 cotton tote bag from NZ is lovely, and useful, and enough to remind me of my lovely vacation.”

“I pick one charm for my travel bracelet for each place I visit. That’s it…I dont like to travel to spend time in stores…that’s all i like to buy besides necessities and transportation!”

31. Ask yourself, do I really need this?

“I say this lines- do I need this? Do I really need this? Do I really really need this?”

32. Carry a small backpack and don’t leave space in your luggage for more 

“Carry a backpack filled with clothes that I wanna wear and leave no space for buying new things. Seems to have worked for my last 2 trips”

“take a small bag…..I’ve learnt that collecting trinkets everywhere I go bogs me down and doesn’t give meaning to me when I get home the way memories or photos do.”

33. If you have to shop, keep it till the end 

“Wait to shop until the last day of the place you are in. Shopping little by little adds up at the end.. then you have no room in your luggage and no money left. Haha.”

34. And avoid expensive stores

“Don’t visit the fancy stores.”

35. But, also sometimes, give in to the temptations… just keep it till the end

“i give up…I am a shopoholic…how bad is it when you are planning a vacation and you google “ what to buy in Prague” I can’t help myself because I always think that it will be the last time I will be there”

“1. Have a budget 
2. Know what’s necessary and what’s not 
3. Value what you have 
4. Forget all the rules and just buy the damn thing cause it’s your money 🤭🤭”

Souvenirs are a load of crap

36. Stop buying souvenirs

“I don’t buy souvenirs”

“oh yes I also stopped souvenirs”

“I stopped buying things for people back at home.. it adds up !”

“I’ve realized over my past few trips that I don’t remember anything about the places that I stay at so I usually go for hostels and airbnb. Also, I used to be obsessed with buying (what I thought was) the most unique souvenir until I moved to Hawaii and realized that all souvenirs are crap lol. So I save myself the money and only take meaningful pictures and buy 2 postcards for family members. It saves a lot of money, and you’ll actually go back and look through your pictures. I don’t think you’ll cherish trinkets as much as you may think.”

37. If you must, then get a postcard 

“The souvenirs I by now are only postcards!! It’s cheap, Helps so much with space in my luggage, and I still have something from each place!”

38. Or take pictures instead 

“My souvenirs are mostly pictures… this is cheap! And when i find clothes but at local prices, i’d buy it.. but only if i feel it’s a deal and it’s a personal favorite ! Anyways, can’t buy much, cause usually it will load up my suitcase or backpack”

“ I take photos so fill my time relaxing and snapping away and usually allow one nice treat to take away and recall the place by”

How much did I spend? Budget, budget… and budget

39. Pay everything in advance so you know what you are getting into

“Gosh I’d be hopeless! I with a club so when I book all my expenses and experiences are paid for on booking.. works for me so much easier and because I have a 27 year old son I care for full time I cant go away for months at a time .. I love to spend 🤣🤣”

40. Set a daily budget

“Cash only
And give myself a daily budget so only take that amount of cash out”

“Since I already plan my schedule everyday so I try to budget as close as possible (including the entrance fee, transport and food cost) + additional 50% for miscellaneous (this amount or whatever balance can be rolled to next day). Whatever balance will be for me to indulge in shopping and buy souvenirs for friends towards the end of my trip.”

41. And track your expenses

“Stick to all things local and I use an app called Toshl to track my expenses.”

“Use the app TravelSpend”

“I use the app Daily Budget and input everything i spend into that.”

“i have a carefully maintained budget spreadsheet in excel, not just for travel times”

“I write my expense so I know exactly how I’m spending and how much. I used to just use the money without knowing or remembering how I used it. Now I come back with $ from my trip. Also, I pick the countries depending on the cheap tickets to go by plane or train. Walk a lot, free tours, take metro, sometimes uber, almost never a taxi. I like to eat in nice places, but I also like street food or affordable local restaurants.”

42. Setup a different bank account for your travels

“Different accounts. I have one main one not connected to my card, and then I transfer money to my “card account”. Makes it easier to not see you bank balance and go ooooooo look at all the monies!”

“I have 2 bank account. 1 is set aside for travel expenses ( with a daily spending budget), and the other is for my expenses I have back at home. 
So if anything should happen to your traveling card, you still have a backup for emergencies.”

43. Use cash instead of credit cards

“Cash only except for hotel rooms. Can’t spend what I don’t have!”

“I only use cash, no credit cards. Helps if you don’t bring your cards out, keep them in the safe in your hotel.”

“I set a budget, and I only carry that amount of cash on me. If I don’t spend all of it, it rolls over to the next day. If I go over my allowance, I take from the following day… I carry a cc just in case for emergency.”

“Cash. If I’m swiping my card I know I’ve spent too much”

44. And while we are at it, how about cash envelop system? 

“I do the envelope system with cash and keep a certain amount for each day for food and beverages. I purchase all museums, tours, concerts, etc on a credit card where I get 5% cash back”

“I used envelopes and budgeted a certain amount per city. 3 cities, 3 envelopes.”

45. If you don’t like carrying cash, get a pre-paid spending card instead

“Pre-paid spending card. And self-discipline.”

46. Some actually advocated for the credit cards

“Take a travel credit card for whole spend also you don’t get charged at ATMs. From the uk”

47. Just don’t forget some “emergency” money

“ make a city estimate using Budgetyourtrip site…. add in some emergency money…. stay at hostels or homes of people… get food at supermarket…”

What about my next trip?

48. Look forward to the next trip

“Think about how soon I can go on my next trip if I spend wisely on this one 😁”

“Remind myself that the more im spending the more time needed for me to go for the next vacation. Its worked!”

Don’t forget… Many ladies preferred to indulge

49. Save extensively before travel, then indulge

“Build up a massive nest egg for a decade before my first trip”

“I am not capable of consciously saving so I rely heavily on background / autopilot savings with digit 😂 its a lifesaver and it lets me have waaaaaay more wiggle room for my questionable financial habits otherwise”

50. Enjoy. You only live once… and it’s vacation time! 

“i work so hard in between my travels that this when i allow myself to splurge. some girls buy designer handbags and shoes or other things… i like spending my money on travel, concerts, shows, events instead 😎”

“I dont calculate how much money i spend each day when i travel, for me to go to nice restaurants and bars are experiences.”

“I save before I go.
I work hard, and see my vacation time as a well deserved relaxing time.”

“Im poor and l work hard. But when l go on vacations l like to stay at the best hotels, l like to be pampered and catered to. Mind you im poor. But hey l work hard so l deserve a nice vacation.”

“I don’t care I’m in holiday ✅😂😂life is short 💃💃Money they are just paper but the memories is your life 💯✅”

“I never have. I have a travel savings account where I save pretty aggressively so when it’s time to go, I transfer my money and enjoy the 🍉 🍎 🍌 of my Labor!”

“Overspend I’m worth it”

… And just like me, some didn’t think it’s possible to not overspend

“Wait it’s possible to not overspend?”

“It is my lifelong struggle hahaha I am tracking this thread to learn too!!!”

“I tell myself I have a budget, and then I completely ignore it. So to answer your question, I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it either. 😂”

“I miserably fail at this at all times”

“I don’t understand the question. “Not overspend?” What is that? Perhaps I should try it. It might allow me to retire at some point in my life.”

“I am bad with budgeting.”

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