ARUBA – Nobody wants to spend more than they have to on vacation. But when planning a vacation with family, it’s even more important to keep the budget in check.
“It’s common for people traveling to make a few careless mistakes when embarking on the unknown,” said Matthew Smillie, owner of Aruba Villa Vacation Homes, which specializes in renting Aruba vacation villas. “Sometimes the mistakes we make on vacation are costly and could have been avoided with proper planning.”
From over packing to dining out at overpriced restaurants, here are common mistakes to avoid on your next trip.
Failing to buy travel insurance: You never know what is going to happen between the time your vacation begins and ends. You or a family member could get sick or injured and the only way to ensure your expenses are covered is by purchasing travel insurance through a reputable company.
“Murphy’s law never takes a holiday and most companies, whether an airline or a hotel, are not sympathetic to your plight,” said the Aruba golf vacation expert. “Insurance covers you for everything from missing your flight and losing your luggage to becoming ill or injured before or during your vacation.”
Traveling during school holidays: Tourists crowd many popular beach destinations in summer and winter. During school holidays, flights and lodging rates are off the charts.
“Off-season travelers get the best values without question,” said Aruba golf vacation pro, Smillie. “Take for instance the weather in Aruba in the fall and spring, it’s not too hot and not too rainy, it’s perfect. It is generally much more cost-effective than traveling in the summer or winter.”
Staying at a luxury resort: While staying at a luxurious resort has many perks, prices can range from $400 to $600 per night. Consider staying in a vacation rental. Full kitchen, ample square footage, access to washing machines and privacy from other travelers are all things you can expect from a rental.
“Travelers get the most bang for their buck when they book a villa rental,” said the Aruba Rentals expert, Smillie. “They provide all the luxuries of home and more perks than a hotel, at a price that can’t be beat.”
Overambitious itinerary: Don’t be afraid to change your plans due to weather or money shortage, said Smillie. Be flexible and don’t try to see everything. Pinpoint a few places you would like to see and then plan your days accordingly. Take it all in and don’t rush through the experience. The same attractions will be there tomorrow.
Over packing: Pack only what you need and know you’ll use; not what you think you’ll use. Never underestimate the chance your bag will be overweight. With checked bag fees on the rise, there are things you can buy at your destination to save money. Plus, if you stay in a vacation rental, you’re just one wash away from a new, clean outfit, said Smillie.
Throwing the budget sheet out the window: The budget you create should be an outline for how you would like to spend your money and where. Allow for some breathing room for unexpected expenses and don’t be overzealous when buying gifts for family members who are back home. Sometimes the best items are the inexpensive.
Sticking to the tourist trail: Go off the beaten path and create your own unique experiences. Speak to the locals about things to do and don’t spend all your money on expensive snorkeling tours when you could rent gear from a dive shop and have just as much fun snorkeling along the beach.
Eating out: Instead of taking your family out to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, try to eat in as much as you can. One of the perks of a vacation rental is being able to control when and where your family eats. While cooking on vacation isn’t a top priority for most travelers, dining out can be one of the most expensive elements on the budget sheet. If you do go out, compare restaurant prices before you head out the door.
Forgetting to relax: You’re on vacation after all and the last thing you need to do is worry. Forget the boat tour, zip line adventure and dive trip, save time to enjoy just being on vacation.
While it is inevitable that you may fall victim to any one of these mistakes, don’t get disappointed, said Smillie. Keep enjoying your experience and take it all in strides, it’ll make you grown and learn as a traveler and a person.
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