10 Signs You're Being Too Cheap While on Vacation

Young married couple got lost on vacation in town. Frustrated lady is arguing with her boyfriend, who holds pda, has no idea where they are


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Couple on the beach

How Cheap Is Too Cheap?

While setting a budget and sticking to it helps avoid financial stress and overspending (especially during times of inflation), there's a fine line between cutting costs and allowing yourself to splurge a little on special occasions such as a vacation. Holidays are meant to be a break from the daily routine, and if you don't let yourself indulge in at least some fun activities, hotels, or experiences, you may return home feeling unsatisfied or resentful. By finding a balance between saving and splurging, you can fully immerse yourself in the vacation experience and return home feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle your day-to-day life with a renewed sense of vigor and inspiration. 

Related: Are You Too Cheap? Here Are the Tell-Tale Signs

Touring India

You Avoid All Paid Activities and Only Do Free Things

While it's important to keep your budget in mind while on vacation, avoiding all paid activities can limit your experience. Some of these activities, such as an excursion or a cooking class, can provide you with a unique and unforgettable experience that you may not be able to get anywhere else. If you're visiting a new city, a guided tour may give you a better understanding of the local history and culture — and could definitely be worth spending a bit extra on. 

Related: 50 Affordable Vacations to Add to Your Bucket List

Middle-aged man and his companion handsome blond lady in Bangkok Chinatown

You Eat Cheap Fast Food at Every Meal

Food is an essential part of every vacation experience, and trying new cuisines and restaurants is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture. While eating instant ramen noodles or cheap fast food every day can help you save money, it can also limit your culinary experiences and take away from the joy of learning about new cultures and traditions. Fast food may also lack the proper nourishment your body needs to feel energized and balanced — and you don't want to spend your vacation feeling sick and lethargic.

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Exhausted from the business trip

You Book Cheap Accommodations That Are Cramped and Uncomfortable

While staying in a cheap hostel or Airbnb may save you money upfront, these accommodations may not provide the comfort and relaxation that one expects while on vacation. Worse yet, you could be greeted by creepy crawlers such as bed bugs (major nope) if you stay at budget hotels. Investing in a comfortable and safe accommodation is essential for a good night's sleep — and a relaxing trip.

Unrecognizable coffee shop customer using tip jar
SDI Productions/istockphoto

You Don't Tip Service Staff

Tipping is a common practice in many countries, and it's essential to show appreciation for good service. Failing to tip service staff at hotels or restaurants can come across as rude or disrespectful — and may lead to poor service on future visits. While tipping customs vary depending on the country you're in, it's always a good idea to do some research before leaving to make sure you understand what's expected.

Young Female Tourist At The Street Market

You Don't Buy Any Souvenirs or Gifts

Souvenirs and gifts are a great way to encapsulate experiences and bring back memories from your trip to share with friends and family. Not buying any can make your trip feel incomplete and may even lead to regrets later on. While souvenirs can be pricey, they don't always have to be — there are plenty of affordable trinkets such as fridge magnets, key chains, and coffee mugs that can make for special and meaningful gifts. 

Pro tip: When visiting big cities like New York City, it's a wise move to avoid souvenir shops in popular, touristy areas like Times Square. Instead, ask around and look for markets or bazaars where locals shop to find the best deals. 

Handsome man in black shoes, burgundy pants and white jacket runs into a subway train.
Denis Mamin/istockphoto

You Use Public Transportation Even When It's Inconvenient

Public transportation can be a cheap and convenient way to get around, but it may not always be the best option. Spending hours on crowded buses or trains while trying to navigate a new transportation system can take away from the fun of the trip, leading to exhaustion, tension, and stress. Paying a bit extra for a taxi or ride-share mode of transportation (at least to and from the airport) can give you peace of mind. It can also help you skip the hassle of having to drag your luggage around while asking for directions. 

Travel insurance documents to help travelers feel confident in travel safety.

You Cut Corners on Necessary Expenses

Accidents and emergencies can happen, and having proper coverage such as travel insurance can be helpful in protecting yourself and your belongings while away on a trip. While travel insurance can be a pricier investment, it's worth budgeting for to ensure you're covered in case you need to change your travel plans or face unexpected scenarios. 

Happy young couple buying souvenirs in Barcelona

You Haggle for Every Purchase

Bartering to get the best deal can be a fun and exciting part of a vacation experience, but overdoing it can come across as rude, and may even lead to strained relationships with locals. It's important to be respectful of local customs and understand the cultural norms surrounding haggling. Doing some research can give you a better understanding of what's acceptable and help you feel more comfortable when negotiating prices.

Mother and daughter in art gallery

You Don't Invest In Experiences That Align With Your Interests

One of the most exciting parts of going on vacation is the opportunity to explore new interests and hobbies. Whether it's trying new foods, visiting a museum or art gallery, or participating in outdoor activities like jet-skiing or snorkeling, there's something for everyone to discover. Trust me, you don't want to be the person that sits in their hotel room the whole time while on vacation just to save a few bucks. 

Romantic sunset dinner on the beach. Table set for two with luxurious food, glasses of champaign drinks in a restaurant with sea view. Summer love, romance date concept

You Don't Treat Yourself to Something Special

Vacations are a time to take a break from the daily grind and treat yourself to something special. Whether it's a romantic candlelit dinner, a soothing spa day, or a fun activity like zip-lining or going on a hot air balloon, indulging in something that you may not do regularly can add excitement and joy to your trip. Treating yourself and your loved ones to something special and memorable doesn't necessarily mean breaking the bank; there are many affordable and fun options to choose from such as going on a hike, visiting a local farm, or going on a bike ride to explore the city.