3 Worst Things to Do with Your Money on Vacation

what not to do with money while travel

what not to do with money while travelYour bags are packed, your cat sitter is scheduled, and you’re on the road, headed for the airport. Vacation is a GO!

But I have just one question for you: is your wallet as packed full as it could be?


And one way to get and keep more cash in it is to make good financial decisions while you’re partying on the road.

Going on vacation is no excuse for making stupid decisions about your finances. So to help you save money on vacation, here are four doozies you really want to avoid:

1. Book hotels at the hotel on the same day

It seems like it only happens in movies nowadays, but it used to be really common for people to book hotels right when they get into town and walk into the hotel. Same day, same reservation, full price. But that’s nonsense! And you’re wasting tons of money.

Instead of paying full price at the counter, book your hotel through discount sites such as Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia, or Orbitz. These sites let you book hotels within a star range for reduced rates and you can save tons of money on short notice.

2. Purchase tons of souvenirs

While you always want to remember your vacation fondly, spending money on souvenirs is a silly way to do it. Bulky physical souvenirs take up space both when you travel home and when you get home. And more often than not? You just get rid of them in a few years! Talk about wasted money…

Instead of purchasing souvenirs, get creative and make your own! Don’t buy postcards, take pictures. Don’t buy books about the places you visit, write your own account of what you have seen or blog about it. And instead of purchasing jewelry, create your own using found shells or rocks. There are tons of creative options that will help you remember your vacation without weighing you down with extra stuff or draining your wallet of your hard-earned cash.

3. Only visit places that charge admission

Contrary to what flyers and ads may try to tell you, you don’t have to spend money to have a great experience! Instead of visiting theme parks, visit national parks and other sight-seeing opportunities.

If you’re travelling in the Southern United states, national parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park charge no admission fee. These sorts of areas are perfect for longer trips because the money you save by not having to pay for entrance or parking can go towards lodging or dining, further reducing your overall costs.

By saving that much money, your overall vacation expense is much lower than it otherwise would have been.

Heading out on vacation? Don’t make these silly money mistakes! Get creative with your souvenirs, attend out-of-the-box theme park and sight-seeing opportunities, and book your hotel using a discount site to save tons of money (and maybe even extend your vacation!).

Do you have any vacation no-no’s to warn us about? Let us know in the comments!


7 thoughts on “3 Worst Things to Do with Your Money on Vacation

  1. Not planning ahead and setting a vacation budget can be harmful. Whenever I go someplace (I started this as a kid), We’d set an amount that I was willing to spend on souvenirs, food, gas etc. and stuck to it. Whenever we stayed in a hotel or cabin that had a fridge, we’d buy food to make breakfast or lunch, dinner and have a snack as needed.

  2. I’m guilty of booking places on the same day occasionally. Sometimes it was really bad because we would drive around forever trying to find a place (one day both of our phones died). It was bad!

  3. We used to book the same day using coupons in gas stations along the way. There are actually some good deals in those coupon books. But for years we’ve planned our stops ahead of time and used points for free hotel stays. This year we are going to skip the rental car for our road trip. While we justified it in past years because it could help our older cars last longer, it now seems too expensive and our car is pretty reliable anyway. We also want to spend less at fast food restaurants on our road trip. I always pack snacks but I want to pack more meals, too.

  4. My addition- don’t be dumb and have all your stuff stolen by Rolling into your destination and leaving your luggage and all in your car or the rental car while you sneak into an amusement park or hit the beach before checking into your hotel. Some years ago we rolled into San Diego too early to check into the hotel so we decided to go to Sea World. Went out 2 hours later to grab our lunches from the cooler and all was stolen or laying on the Sea World parking lot along with the stuff from about 10+ other unlucky park visitors. It was a money hit having to buy new clothes and personal care products for 3 kids and the bride and I. I have heard a similar story from a co-worker when they lost everything the same way in Hawaii. They were 100 yards away from the beach parking lot when they heard the car alarm and watched as a group unloaded all their stuff into their car and drive away.

  5. Travel mistake: not planning ahead of time. If we plan ahead, we can save lots of time and money. We also have less stress over what place we’re staying and it makes our plan extra special. What we only need to think is how to get that FUN!

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