The teachers in the UAE are some of the luckiest educators in the world. In most cases, high salaries, accommodations paid for and zero tax liability, have left many teachers with the ability to indulge in every desire their wanderlust can take them.
For many, summer vacation provides yet another opportunity to cross another country off the bucket list and perhaps reconnect with family back home. However, summer break can quickly change to summer ‘broke’ if one does not exercise some restraint.
In an effort to make sure you don’t return to work in August on a much tighter budget than you would like, here are 12 useful tips to keep you sorted in the spending department.
Don’t keep up with the Jones’s
For teachers who include colleagues in their social network, every break in the school calendar makes your timeline look like a travel brochure. If seeing your friends enjoy first class, five-star hotels and fine dining makes you green with envy, just remember how much “green” it takes to live up to that. If your budget is more along the lines of ‘couch surfing’ than wind surfing – just stick to it. You’ll thank me later when you retire 10 years before the Jones’s do.
Get the best deals on accommodations
There are many ways to save on your stay. coupon sites offer many great deals on all-inclusive trips to many popular destinations. Hotels are not your only option when choosing a place to stay. If you’re really trying to save, Air BnB is a site where locals offer their own empty homes or just a room in their place at a low price. Sometimes a home cooked meal or tour around town is included. check the person’s reviews before booking with them.
Travel insurance is important
When your travel budget is already starting to reach the limit, ignoring travel insurance is certainly tempting … but don’t do it. Travel insurance protects you from unforeseen circumstances such as cancellations, lost luggage, illness abroad and other emergencies. As anyone who has had to whip out the credit card in a foreign hospital can tell you, travelling is a mature undertaking and grown-ups protect themselves against accidents.
Fees for additional bags on most major airlines can start at 75 USD/Dhs 275 and go on up in charges. Do you want to start chipping away at your travel budget before you even take off?
Pay with cash
While it isn’t always the best idea to carry loads of money on your person (more on that in the next tip) using credit and debit cards on vacation will most likely incur an extra fee. Additionally, there will be instances where it is simply easier to use cash instead of your credit card.
Keep cash in various places
When you do carry cash while travelling do not put it all in one place. Should the worst happen and you’re the victim of theft, it’s better if you’re not left destitute.
Keep your guard up
While hiking off the beaten path can result in some awesome stories, pictures and videos, it could also result in robbery, assault or kidnapping. Do adequate research on the areas that you visit. participate in group tours and stay in well-lit public places.
Live like a local
It’s no secret that many shops and restaurants near hotels and major landmarks are known ‘tourist traps’ that offer prices severely marked up to take advantage of the not-so-savvy traveller. Don’t be ripped off. Ask where the locals go to dine and shop and get a reasonable deal on fixed price meals and items.
A little haggling never hurt nobody
Now, if there isn’t a fixed price posted, its time to exercise your bargaining skills. Those working in open-air markets and craft bazaars are masters of the haggling dance, so enlist the help of your best bargaining buddy and never take their first offer.
Buy a bus pass
For many travellers, transportation is one of their biggest daily costs. Taxis or rental cars can be quite pricey in many cities. Buses, trains, subways and even bike rental are thrifty alternatives. The bonus is the additional calories you’ll burn by walking off all that rich dessert because everyone knows your diet will take a vacation too.
Americans, in particular are used to tipping 15-20% for good service in restaurants. however, in America, servers receive a small salary. In many other countries the restaurant’s wait staff may be paid well and perhaps tipping is not as common. Best bet – ask a local what the culture dictates in this matter.
Take the soaps!
Last but not least, a travel tip that saves you money upon your return. If you’re an avid traveller, perhaps you haven’t had to buy a soap, lotion, shower gel or a sewing kit for months at a time due to ‘stocking up’ when staying in a hotel. Raise your hand if you do this … yep, I’m guilty too!
By Alona Ballard