Save Money on Vacation, Don’t Forget These 5 Things

Two Young Tourists With Backpacks Sightseeing in the City

Raise your hand if a lack of funds or perceived shortage of funds prevents you from booking extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime trips. While we don’t have the bank statements and credit proof to outline a pitch-perfect budget template for you, we have gathered a useful guide to assist eager jet-setters in saving a lot of money while traveling.

Curb those expensive airport purchases due to poor planning and achieve that prepared traveler status you’ve yearned for since birth. We’ve accumulated a list of ten items to always include in a carry-on or checked bag to avoid that costly, annoying run to the convenience store or pit-stop in the airport convenience store upon realization of the missed item. 

1. Universal Adapter

When traveling internationally, you need to bring a universal adapter. The world uses over 15 kinds of outlets, aptly titled A through O, and each country swears by a different letter. Various countries accept different outlet types, yet you need to check the validity of the outlet type before journeying to a new place without a proper adapter. 

The United States uses type A and type B; type A features two rectangular pins spaced apart, while type B features those rectangular pins and a circular, centered pin beneath the rectangular counterparts. Most of Europe uses type C or an outlet with two circular pins. The United Kingdom uses type G, a plug with one vertical, rectangular pin above two lower, horizontal pins. 

A slew of universal adapters feature multitudes of outlet options to use when traveling, making an international trip throughout numerous countries possible and affordable when carrying a universal adapter. As a quick anecdote, I misplaced my universal adapter a few trips ago during a trip to London. When I discovered the loss, I scrambled for a new one, browsing all the aisles in the airport stores for a replacement. The one I found cost me around $20, what with that added airport inflation when I spent around $5 on my OG device. 

2. Portable Charger

How many times have you realized your phone battery won’t last the remainder of the flight? You hope that you can listen to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon just once more, but you know that cellular device will give out after “On the Run.” Upon realization, you fret for something to fill the remainder of the airborne time, pleading with the clouds to grant the plane an early descent. You need to find an outlet to plug in your phone and contact an Uber or the in-laws. By chance, maybe that plane offers free USB plugs installed in the seats, but no luck. This is an old-fashioned plane, and you must tough out the remaining hour without screen time. 

Avoid the brutal lack of a phone or technological device with a portable charger. Of course, you can find them in the airport or in stores around the destination, yet a portable charger permits travelers the freedom to begin their trip without the added frustration of finding a charger (and the extra upcharge). A fair portion of affordable portable chargers run on solar power, meaning all you need to do during a long day of sightseeing is let the power bank see the sun to refuel all your devices. 

3. Sunscreen

One of my favorite memories from a trip to Walt Disney World’s The Magic Kingdom involves Uber-Eating sunscreen for guest services. My cousin, a native New Yorker, arrived in Florida in the same manner as always, pale and eager to bake in the sun until she gained a sleek tan. Despite warnings of skin cancer and sun poisoning, my cousin threw on a tank top, shorts, a flimsy pair of sunglasses, and a light coating of SPF 15 and professed her desire to arrive at the park for the rope drop. 

I succumbed to her requirements; this was her birthday trip, after all, and followed her into the park. A few hours into the day, she began complaining of the sun’s wrath, asking to stop by a store and purchase a bottle of sunscreen. My cousin wasn’t alone in her pain. Magic Kingdom ran out of sunscreen that day, even free samples, so they advised us to Uber Eats sunscreen to the park. Thirty dollars and two hours later, my cousin received her pitiful bottle of Coppertone SPF 30 and slathered the lotion on her burnt skin. 

Always bring a bottle (or a few) of trusted sunscreen in a checked bag, or bring a carry-on size for short trips.

4. Laundry Kit

When I studied abroad in the UK, our lodge charged us a couple of pounds per week to launder our clothes. As a college student, I jumped at the offer. On typical trips, I’d let my laundry accumulate, stuffing dirty clothes into a bag, ensuring the dirty clothes stayed away from the clean ones. When I returned home, I would engage in an egregious load of laundry or ignore the laundry until the days leading to my next trip. 

Today, I bring a packet of travel-size laundry detergent (I prefer packing liquid in my checked bag; others carry powdered detergent or sheets in their carry-ons), and if my lodging does not have a washer or dryer, I do the laundry in the bath or shower and hang up the clothes to dry. Bringing my own laundry detergent prevents me from looking for a close laundromat and spending an awful lot of money on dry cleaning.

Pro tip: If your shoes have a foul smell, throw a Tide Pod or dryer sheet in the sole. 

5. Roll-up Rain Jacket

I forgot to pack a coat on a recent trip to San Diego. I brought a few hoodies and crewnecks, enough to warm me up during the cold California days but not enough covering for a frigid whale-watching excursion. Yet, my mom saved the day and me from a future sickness when she rolled up a poofy rain jacket into my luggage. 

I bundled up with the rain jacket and a hoodie to brace myself against the cold Pacific Ocean winds. I leaned into the collapsible windbreaker, making a mental note to call my mom and thank her later that day. Without the multi-use jacket, I would have coughed over between $40-$60 for a jacket at the whale-watching facility and another potential $20-$30 for a blanket. 

Start Saving the Big Bucks

Before your next big trip, make a checklist that includes all of the materials you can pack to save extra money. Toiletries, snacks, and everyday medicines also help world travelers save money when they pack those items instead of buying them in the airport or upon arrival. With more money saved, the traveler experiences more freedom to explore their destination. 

Coffee Shop Insight: 12 Insider Secrets Baristas Want You to Know

male female baristas
Image Credit: Monkey Business and Shutterstock.

Americans love their coffee. An average of three cups a day is consumed in the States, totaling 400 million cups a year. Your local baristas have seen a thing or two, and they are spilling the tea or, in this case, coffee.

There are many inner workings in a coffee shop, and some of them even include insider secrets, such as what happens when you ask for your coffee to be extra hot or which roast has the most caffeine.

It goes without saying that you might not like the results if you don’t treat your local barista and other food service employees with kindness and respect.

Top 10 Ranked Must-Visit Theme Parks Across the US in 2024

family traveling with suitcases.
Image Credit: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury and iStock

Are you ready to plan your next vacation? Do you love visiting theme parks when you travel? Then you might want to know about the best theme parks to visit in the USA in 2024!

Researchers at Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal analyzed amusement parks in the United States based on three key factors: Instagram hashtags, monthly Google search volume, and the percentage of ‘excellent’ reviews on TripAdvisor. These factors were then combined in an index to give each amusement park a total score (0 to 100) to discover the most popular nationwide. The factors were also weighted in favor of customer experiences, so TripAdvisor reviews were given a higher weight due to them directly reflecting visitor satisfaction.

Gabrielle Reeder
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