You fall for taxi scams
There are so many taxi and Uber scams out there, we’ve got a whole other story for ‘em. But, the basic gist is “never, ever get into a taxi without first agreeing on a price or asking for the meter -- period,” says Jackie Nourse, who has spent 15 years on the road as The Budget Minded Traveler. Even if the meter is on, you’ve still got to have your wits about you -- some crooked drivers rig their machines to tick up too quickly. Expert Vagabond Matt Karsten suggests that before you hail a cab, you “ask the hotel or hostel front desk for an estimate of how much the ride should cost, so you know you’re not being ripped off.”
Stick to the official, city-sponsored taxis, or a trusted ride-share brand. Believe it or not, even Uber isn’t everywhere (yet). Raymond Walsh at The Stingy Traveler says “it’s worth checking for local alternatives and downloading the apps before you go. Go-Jek is big in Indonesia, there’s Careem in the UAE and Pakistan, and Grab throughout most of Asia.”
Your hotel is bleeding you dry
We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through the hotel options online, and you find one that looks nicer than you can afford, and you can just about afford it. But the headline price is just the beginning, warns Tim Leffel. “You'll pay more for parking, more for everything in the minibar, more for the taxi outside, more at the bar and restaurants, and probably some heinous ‘resort fee’ to use the pool and spa you thought were included. Oh, and don't forget to tip the doorman AND the bellman.” On the upside, you’ll probably get a free USB stick, left over from 2004. Instead, decide which amenities you can comfortably give up, and book a room that falls comfortably within your budget. Because even that will likely turn out less comfortable than you expect.
You’re just not being nice enough
Jackie Nourse has one simple tip: be friendly. “Don’t act like you’re entitled to anything when you are in a new culture. A little bit of kindness goes a long way, and it will save you money in all kinds of situations.” N.B. you should probably always be nice, even if you’re not getting any material gain. At least, that’s what my parole officer told me.