Travel credit cards let you earn points and miles that can be used to save money on travel or pay for exorbitant travel expenses most couldn’t normally afford. I have personally redeemed miles for airfare and hotel stays that would have cost me thousands of dollars, and for that I am forever grateful.
But I still get sick to my stomach when I read headlines that say things like: “I Traveled to Bora Bora for $200!” or “Learn How I Got This $20,000 Vacation for $272!”
Sometimes authors don’t get to choose their headlines, and I get that. But these headlines still send the wrong message. Travel rewards can help you save money, but they don’t make travel free.
Travel Expenses You Will Have to Pay For
No matter what some blogger says about how they traveled to a far-flung destination for a few hundred bucks, it’s important to take their story with a grain of salt. Sure, they might have packed their suitcase with snacks and subsisted off free breakfast and concierge lounge snacks over their week-long vacation in the Maldives, but are you going to do that? That’s the real question you should answer.
In almost every case, traveling anywhere is going to require you to pay for food. You can rent an Airbnb so you have a kitchen to cook in, and you can take advantage of any free food options your lodging affords, but you will still wind up paying for some food no matter where you go.
And, don’t you want to pay for food? I can tell you that, when I was in Italy last week, I indulged in plenty of pasta and Aperol Spritz because, well, eating is part of the journey there. It would be pretty sad to travel to Italy and avoid all the delicious cuisine in order to stay under some arbitrary spending limit.
In addition to food spending, what about miscellaneous purchases? Souvenirs? Taxis when your legs are too tired to walk? Transportation to and from the airport? An Uber ride to the airport, or daily parking charges if you drive yourself?
These are just some of the “extras” you need to pay for, but the list grows exponentially longer when you travel with kids. When you’re a parent, there are times when you choose to spend money to keep kids happy, whether that means letting everyone sit down and rest with an ice cream cone or splurging for some other treat.
Travel Isn’t Free
There are plenty of ways to save money on travel, and I try to use as many strategies as I can. But I’m also honest about the fact that travel isn’t free! You can pay for the bulk of your trip with airline miles, hotel points, or flexible travel rewards, but you will spend money in ways you can’t even imagine — especially if you’re a parent.
So, read all the travel stories with clickbait headlines and marvel at the outrageous spending claims if you want. But when it comes to your own trips, it’s best to be realistic about your travel budget and plan your finances accordingly.
What are some travel expenses that have surprised you over the years?
[Featured Image: Shutterstock]
Source: frugal travel guy