I just got back from a two week vacation to Iceland and Spain (with a few hours spent in downtown Dusseldorf thrown in for good measure). A couple weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how to spend less money while you’re traveling. During my trip, I learned a few more things that I want to share!
1. Pack lunch (or breakfast)
Going out to eat for every meal, everyday, can seriously add up. This is even more compounded if you’re in an expensive country (like Iceland). Obviously, it’s hard to avoid eating at restaurants when you’re traveling, and exploring local cuisine is probably the best part of travel… but there are some other options. If you’re going on a day trip or a long drive, pack a lunch instead of stopping at a restaurant. In Spain, we packed fresh bread, jamón, and cheese for beach trips and long drives. Not only was it delicious, but it was a lot cheaper (and faster) than stopping for tapas.
2. Plan ahead for hydration
Now, this advice varies depending on the place you’re visiting. In Iceland, we could fill up our own water bottles wherever we went and the water was delicious (seriously, so delicious) and safe. In Spain, however, water fountains are hard to come by. And restaurants really only serve you bottled water that you have to pay for. After a couple dehydrated days, we decided to buy a six pack of those giant water bottles from the grocery store and always have one with us. Those bottles were about 85 cents each, while the smaller ones sold at restaurants could cost up to 3 euros!
3. Take public transportation
Regardless of the emergence of apps like Uber and Lyft, cab rides can still add up quickly. I also noticed in Spain that cab meters increase much faster than the ones I’m used to! After walking all over Barcelona, we were too tired (and cranky) to walk back to our hotel, so we took a cab. It cost over $20 to go 2km! In hindsight, we should have taken the metro or bus and it would have been far cheaper. Public transportation can also be a fun way to really get to know the city you’re in.
Certified Financial Education Instructor. Feminist and financial coach for women. Founder of Money Circle.