Traveling is not something you do everyday. Therefore, it is understandable to not know where the cheap eats are located and end up grabbing a bite from an overrated place when you are out of town or country. However, make this kind of mistake once or twice in your life and never let it happen again. If you are new to traveling, you just got lucky because the following are mistakes I made over the years and I am sharing them with you:
1. Don’t drink anything from the hotel’s mini fridge. There was probably a note somewhere written in size 4 font stating the can of Sprite in the mini fridge is not included in the hotel fee. It was my fault for naively believing in anything free. I cannot remember exactly how much the hotel in Paris charged me but it was definitely a rip off. Lesson learned. Buy bottles of water and soda from nearby convenience stores.
2. Don’t buy souvenirs from gift shops near tourist sites. I purchased random gifts with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I was in Europe as souvenirs for my family and friends. Every time I see tourists in New York City wearing “I Heart NYC” T-shirts, I am reminded that I once made unnecessary purchases as well. Many of those low quality souvenirs broke in my luggage on my way back to the States. Always buy something that you want to receive.
3. Don’t waste time to book an activity. When you are traveling, the last thing you want to do is waste time to plan your trip. If you signed up for a tour good for you because you probably make enough money to save yourself the hassle of booking flights and hotels. However, what about the activities? With the increase in web apps, booking for activities is just as easy as booking a dinner reservation.
4. Don’t go shopping by yourself if you cannot bargain. I know I cannot bargain but I know someone that does—my aunt. The summer that I was in China, I did not buy anything from street vendors or self-own shops without my aunt next to me. Unlike department stores, privately own small businesses do not mark final prices. Most of the time, they increase the price leaving enough room for negotiation.
5. Don’t carry expensive items. Leave your Gucci at home if you own one. Remember, you are traveling not walking the runway. Sales representatives and pick pocketers look out for people who wear brands and diamonds. Unless you are capable of hiring guards, do not carry anything expensive with you.
6. Don’t let anyone tell you what to buy. This sounds like a no-brainer but I had witnessed a family of four (mostly the mom) fell into a marketing trap. A psychic warned the mom that her son is in danger after reading his palm and suggested the mom to purchase a 2,000 RMB jade lion to adjust the Feng-Shui at home. Mom was not interested at first so the psychic went in the back to ask for his master. The master ended up closing the sale. These people are not professional marketers, they are professional liars! Keep the ball in your court. No one can make you spend money.
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