Tours and travels are meant to be all fun and frolic – not tears and travails.
Unfortunately, however, such stories do not always have a happy ending. Many holiday trips end up like a tsunami; leaving behind a financial mess that may take months and years to clean-up. I guess we should be smart to learn something useful from the following regrets of a fellow tourist.
1. I wish we had planned
We should have set ourselves a spending limit that would not have strained our finances. Besides, we could have kept aside 5-10% as contingency amount, so as to not constraint ourselves too much and also leave some room for unforeseen expenses. Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean more enjoyment.
2. I wish we had not tried to imitate our neighbours
Just because the Smiths had travelled abroad last year, didn’t mean that we too should have flown to foreign locales. This me-too culture and unbridled consumerism is one of the most common causes of financial misery.
3. I wish we had not been swayed by jazzy advertisements
It was a mistake not to read the fine print of the terms and conditions of our tour operator. Though the operator was professional and experienced, the “discounted” cost advertised did not cover all the expenses. Apart from the tour cost, we had to additionally pay airport taxes, entrance fees at places of tourist interest, local conveyance when left for shopping, optional meals at local restaurants, etc.
4. I wish we had given some thoughts to gifts too
We were keen to get presents for our near and dears, but most of it was impulse purchases. Instead, we should have listed down various friends and relatives for whom we wanted to buy gifts; and the amount we were willing to spend. This would have ensured sensible buying and also not left us short-changed at the last moment.
5. I wish we had updated ourselves on the places we were visiting
We could have spoken to friends & relatives who had been there earlier. Today internet too provides loads of information. We should have used it extensively to equip ourselves with all the knowledge about the weather, the places of interest, local specialties etc. This would have saved us a lot of time and money.
6. I wish we had avoided the credit cards
Credit cards give a false sense of financial comfort. Using pre-paid cards or travellers’ cheques would have been more sensible. Besides being safe (credit card frauds are very common) these would have automatically kept a check on our spending and we would not have gone overboard.
7. I wish we had not opted for the ‘holiday-on-instalments’ offer
I took the instalments offer as all we had to do was to just pack our bags and go off to have our fun. The payment could be made later and in easy instalments. But this essentially meant that we were borrowing money for consumption, which is definitely not a very prudent thing to do. Living off ones future income is a sure way of inviting financial disaster.
8. I wish we had scheduled our trip appropriately
We should have gone during the off-season or may be just before or after the peak season. This was an excellent way of cutting down expenses while still enjoying the best of everything. We would have saved a lot of money – on tickets, on hotel rooms, on shopping, on local sight-seeing etc.