7 Times Being Frugal on Your Vacations is a Bad Idea

Saving money while planning and during your vacations always feels right, doesn’t it? We can’t wait to share with others the deal we took advantage of, or how we only spent only ‘X’ amount of money. Sometimes we are lucky, and end up saving a ton of money by shopping smart. Sadly, there are times when being frugal on your vacations is a bad idea. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Before you keep reading: GoldenAgeTrips.com is making use of affiliate links, which in some cases will end up in a commission for purchases originated from this website. However, all referred companies/products/accommodations have been tried out or researched by us first.

Rental Car

car rental winterPhoto by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

Travelers appear to be avoiding renting cars at all costs. It is understandable, it can get expensive. Between car fees, insurance, gas, and parking, it can cost almost as much as the plane ticket.  But what if you have to rent a car? Do not go for the cheapest option without doing your research. Especially, if you are going to a place you have never been before.

For example, if you’re traveling to Iceland during the Winter (Click Here to Read More about our March Adventure in Iceland), it is necessary to invest in the right vehicle. You will need a 4 X 4 Off-Road Vehicle that’s ready for Winter. This preparation consists of winter tires, chains, and having a higher traction than your standard sedan. It will be more money than what you’re used to paying for a rental, but you don’t want to be stuck in a snowbank during your vacations.

Plane Tickets

LayoverPhoto by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

“How could it be bad saving money on plane tickets?” I know you are asking that question right now, and there is an answer. We (myself included) can’t wait to click ‘purchase’ when we see a plane ticket at a lower price than what is considered a normal rate. Careful though, double check the ticket for the number of layovers (and how long or short they are), and airport changes.

Unless there is no way that I can afford or obtain a direct flight to a destination, I try as much as possible to avoid layovers (stopovers are a different story). If you’re crossing oceans, saving $100.00 USD on a plane ticket could mean losing a day of precious vacation time, and that’s a tradeoff I’m not willing to make.


hotelPhoto by Nik Lanús on Unsplash

Our previous blog post goes deeper into choosing the right hotel in order to avoid a disastrous stay. To summarize the aforementioned article…don’t let price be your only reason for booking a hotel unless there is no other option. Choosing the right hotel is critical for how successful your vacation ends up being.

Click Here to Read “How to Avoid a Disastrous Stay at a Hotel”.


food travelPhoto by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Having a budget for food while on vacation is mandatory. If we don’t have one, our food expenses can creep on us. On the other side, we should always make the effort of eating local cuisine during our trips (unless you are allergic to some ingredients or are on a restricted diet). A lot of my most memorable experiences while traveling are centered around food. Geyser bread in Iceland, beer in Germany, raclette in Switzerland, they are all unforgettable.

Maybe this point is a little biased on my side, but I always recommend people to spoil themselves at least one night experiencing the cuisine of the country how is meant to be experienced. Sometimes this comes with a price, but most of the time it ends up being worth it.

Travel Clothes

winter clothesPhoto by Don Ross III on Unsplash

This one is a bit similar to our first point. There are occasions in which whatever clothes you buy don’t matter, but in others it does. A vacation can turn dreadful if you’re not prepared for the weather or the activities you have planned. For example, if you’re traveling where it snows, waterproof (and slip-resistant) boots are a must. Also, a great coat is worth a thousand times more than five that are just mediocre.

Together with plane tickets, this is the one purchase I used to struggle the most. Coming from a tropical climate, I couldn’t fathom spending a lot of money for a coat. However, I have learned, and now only ‘style’ is not the only thing that matters, but the quality and naturally how good it is for keeping me warm.

As of now, I’ve been using Stich Fix, and I tell my personal stylist where I’m going and what’s the weather like and they send me a few high-quality pieces that I can mix and match. Try them here!

Once in a Lifetime Tours

tours halong bayPhoto by Ryan Waring on Unsplash

Going on tours don’t have to be expensive. There are tours for every budget, from walking tours, food tours, to a cruise through the Seine River in Paris. Locals can show you a side of the city that you probably won’t be able to see for yourself.

Nonetheless, it is essential to do your research in advance. In major cities and tourist attractions, there are scams disguised as tours. In many cases done by people with not the best intentions or without the proper certifications and licenses. Try to look for reviews online, or ask someone that you know has visited the place for referrals.

Luggage & Backpacks

backpackPhoto by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Luggage’s one of those items that is not given the importance that it deserves. It can make your trip easier, or even more challenging. One of the best purchases you can make, it’s luggage that it’s easy to handle and long-lasting. I have to admit that mine doesn’t fit in the first category, but it has been with me for more than six years and countless trips.

Regarding backpacks, I have been with mine for more than three years, and it looks almost as new. It has a padded compartment for electronics, fits my camera, a few clothes changes, and travel documents. For me, it’s also a purchase where being too frugal might end up being a bad idea.

What are other travel purchases or splurges that you think are worth it? Share with us in the comments.

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Saving money always feels right, doesn't it? Sadly, there are times when being frugal on your vacations is a bad idea. Let's take a look at some examples.