Tourist smart tricks are useful to every traveler. Probably their list could be endless. We tried to choose those that really help you save money on vacation abroad.
Go on Favorable Excursions
Tickets to museums and excursions are sometimes not cheap. If you intend to go to all the museums of the city, buy a special museum or tourist card. It will cost you less than if you buy tickets to each museum separately, besides, the tourist card may also include transportation.
You can also make a list of free days to visit different museums and go on free sightseeing tours. Few people know, but they are held in most major cities. Good guides will introduce you to local history and give tips on interesting and inexpensive cafes and stores.
You can also find a free tour guide among regular locals, such as through the Couchsurfing service or numerous Facebook groups.
Look for Wi-Fi
Mobile Internet on your native SIM card on a trip abroad will cost you a pretty penny. You can use apps to find free Wi-Fi hotspots. For example, such as WiFi Finder or WiFi Map.
But don’t forget about security. Open Wi-Fi networks always carry the risk that your signal may be intercepted by crooks, even if a person uses some protected sites, like tonybet or Booking.
Apps can help reduce that risk. WiFi Finder shows you access points that have already been security-checked. WiFi Map gives you feedback on signal quality and network reliability. The app also tells you whether you need to sign in to the network and whether your Internet access is time-limited.
However, you should use closed Wi-Fi networks, for example in hotels or restaurants, to access your online or mobile bank and for other confidential transactions. The password can be obtained at the reception or from the waiter. It’s better if the password is unique for each visitor.
Buy Souvenirs in Unpopular Places
Stores in the city center or at the airport are always overpriced, especially for souvenirs for tourists. They are aimed at foreigners who do not want to waste time looking for better deals or simply do not notice the tricks of salesmen. Near the city’s attractions the most common magnet will cost more than in the market a little farther from the center.
Change Your Currency in Advance
It is not the best idea to change currency at the airport or in the city center in the first bank you see. Even worse is to use a suspicious exchange office or change money out of hand. You may run into fraudsters that way. Also, withdrawing cash from ATMs is usually not profitable, as the fees may reach 10-15% of the amount.
Use the Package Offers
Tourists are always more profitable to buy a package at once. This applies not only to business lunches (by the way, always ask the cafe “menu of the day”, a ready supply of dishes is much cheaper than individually). In many countries you will be offered a single tourist ticket for travel on public transport and museums. For example, in Rome such a ticket is called RomaPass, in Riga – RigaPass. Learn about these options and buy tickets at tourist information offices.
Rent an Apartment
In the peak tourist season in popular areas, there may not be hotel rooms at reasonable prices, even a few months before your arrival. But the owners of the apartments are often willing to offer you the best options – for example, through Airbnb or Booking – for an order of magnitude cheaper than hotels.
The main advantage is that the apartment will have its own kitchen. Besides, the neighborhood with the locals will give you a better sense of the atmosphere of the city.
In many countries, there are popular online services that collect bargains from a variety of companies. With a big discount – up to 70-80% – you can eat at a restaurant, go to the theater or amusement park, ride a pleasure boat or ATV. All you need to do is buy a coupon on the aggregator’s website (for example, Groupon or LivingSocial – different countries may have similar local tools). On some such resources you can even book a nice hotel for much cheaper.