Any international trip, whether business or pleasure is a little bit better when you have some more money to spend floating around in your wallet. At the same time, travel can be very expensive between costs of transportation and lodging, forcing people to strictly budget their activity while on the road. For those who want to perhaps pick up an extra souvenir or two at a gift shop, or cut loose from the strictly allocated expense account, here are a two money saving tips to keep in mind.
Shop/Eat at places you recognize – Any shop or store near a hotel will most likely have higher than market prices. Take Mexico for example. Just because a place has a Spanish sounding name, doesn’t mean it caters to locals or will be any less expensive. For basic items you may have forgotten to pack, in addition to generic food and drink, consider making your way to Mexican Wal-mart (yes, they have Wal-marts in foreign countries, and just like at home that’s really where most locals shop). Almost all major chains are actually international, especially in the fast food realm. If you feel like you’re selling yourself short on the international experience, consider that Mexican McDonald’s has many local menu items not available in the states, including McPatatas (not just another word for fries), McMolletes, Pollo Escabeche, guacamole topped burgers and a variety of spiced up egg combinations for breakfast, just to name a few… but beware, though El Pescador sounds fancy and exotic, it’s just your standard Filet-O-Fish.
Stay away from the hotel bar – A beer tastes the same whether it’s store-bought or poured by your hotel bartender, the only difference is in the price. Even if you factor out a tip, which may be added on without your knowledge, a hotel beer is likely 5 times as much as you would pay at a supermarket or convenience store. This is partially due to the convenience factor of not having to leave hotel grounds to grab a beverage, not to mention stores often sell in bulk, reducing the price of individual items purchased.