Still Overpaying for Taxis, Laundry, and These Three Basics When Abroad?

There are certain things for which most tourists pay way above the mark. This is unnecessary spending that you can avoid if you have the proper knowledge.

Allow us to explain why you shouldn’t overpay for your things while overseas.

Why Should I Avoid Overpaying?

It harms the local economies. This may seem contradictory, but you’re not the only tourist who is overpaying for things. There are millions upon millions of others doing the exact same thing every single day.

This eventually creates a demand for the tourism industry, negating the benefits of other industries such as medical care. If a travel agent earns more than a doctor, the doctor might as well switch professions, right?

Because of over-tipping and overpaying, local products become too expensive for the original residents due to inflation. If the entire local economy is based on one industry and that industry takes a dip, the economy follows suit.

How to Avoid Overpaying

1. Know the Value of a Service/Product

Knowing how much a particular service or product is worth will allow you to gauge effectively how much you should be paying.

The way to go about judging the value of a product or service is to observe what the locals are paying.

Even if you do not understand or follow their language, keep an eye on the number and color of currency notes that they use for the same service or product that you are interested in.

Generally, paying 10% to 20% over the local value for a product or service is acceptable.

Anything beyond that, and you know you’ll be overpaying.

In most countries, vendors hike up their prices when tourists walk into their shop. If you know how much the locals spend for their services, you’ll know if they try to swindle you.

2. Use Cash

Credit cards almost always come with fees on international usage. Even if they don’t, they still apply all sorts of taxes, exchange fees, and duties.

Avoiding too much use of a credit card can sometimes knock as much as 5% off of your total cost.

A better option than cash is to use traveler’s checks. These can be exchanged at all central

banks for cash, canceled if they are stolen, and are directly accepted at most shops.

If you feel the need to use a card of some sort, or are just nervous about carrying liquid forms of currency around, use a prepaid credit card instead.

These negate the risk of losing all your money, as you can only use what you load onto it.

Nonetheless, always keep some cash on your person, just as a contingency plan.

3. Stay Off the Beaten Path

It’s common sense that if you stay and dine near significant attractions in a city, the cost of your trip will skyrocket.

Going to a slightly out-of-the-way place will put some distance between you and people

who prey on tourists.

Places that are out of the public eye are more likely to offer you better deals on

accommodation, board, and transport.

Below, is a list of items that international tourists consistently overspend on and a guide to avoid paying above the mark for them.

1. Avoid Overpaying for Taxis

Taxi drivers may act sly, especially if they notice that you aren’t a local. They will often try to drive you through the scenic routes, especially if they charge by the mile.

Know the average fare to your destination by asking a local, like your waiter or concierge, for


Once you have an idea of the approximate cost, try to negotiate the price beforehand with

the driver of your cab.

Ideally, take a taxi only if you have to. Moving around by way of a prepaid bus card or railway pass can save you a staggering amount of money.

2. Don’t Overspend on Laundry

Hotels charge you an arm and a leg for the use of their laundromat services.

If you are on a short trip, try to pack enough shirts so that you do not have to re-wear any of them, nullifying the need for laundry expenses.

On longer trips, when this isn’t possible, just put some shampoo in the sink and give your clothes a light rinse.

3. Don’t Over-Tip

This includes your servers, hotel porters, cab drivers, and guides. Do your research into the tipping etiquette of the place you are visiting beforehand.

For example, in America, extravagant tipping is the norm, whereas, in Japan, tipping is a major faux pas. The locals may even get upset if you try to tip them.

Tip the standard amount, and remember that tips vary from service to service.

Also, remember always to check your bill. Some establishments add automatic gratuity to your final bill, and this could result in over-tipping.

4. Never Pay for Drinking Water

While the water in some countries isn’t exactly potable, there will always be a water cooler or fountain at your hotel, or even along the roadsides where you can refill a water bottle or canteen.

If you still have any concerns about the purity of the water found at these places, use a filtering bottle or a purification pellet instead.

You can buy these at most stores and carry them with you almost everywhere.

5. Watch Your Cellular Data.

Coming home after a rousing holiday is depressing enough, but getting a massive phone bill the following month is even worse.

Avoid this by either buying a local prepaid sim card at your destination, or by avoiding the use of too much data while overseas.

Seek out places like coffee shops and cafes where you are likely to get free Wi-Fi, and use the internet there.

Don’t forget to inform your phone company that you will be traveling overseas. They may have an international data plan that proves to be far cheaper than just using the data on roaming mode.

6. Buy Insurance

While you expect to money on transportation, food, and clean clothes on a trip, some of the biggest expenses you may incur can be totally unexpected. Imagine getting sick or injured in a foreign country, or losing your luggage or passport. To be prepared for this possibility, it’s essential that you buy travel medical insurance or travel insurance to protect your budget. Having insurance in place could help you avoid the biggest financial drain of your trip.

In Conclusion

Being a responsible traveler means abiding by local norms and cultural rules, and being smart enough to know the difference between waste and wants. As always, research is the key to understanding your destination, which in turn might help you better enjoy the experience of the place you are visiting.

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