It’s normal to make a few newbie mistakes when preparing for a big trip. Sometimes you waste money when you make these mistakes. Here are 5 common travel purchase mistakes I’ve made. Let’s hope you learn from me and avoid these travel prep missteps.
I always love the feeling of getting ready for a new trip. Don’t you? I feel like an astronaut about to take my first voyage.
Traveling makes you feel like you’re about to discover a new frontier.
If you’re like me, this feeling often sparks the urge to get ready for your upcoming trip.
So you buy
I always find myself doing buying lots and lots of stuff. “I can always return it,” I say. That’s how I fall into the travel trap.
5 Travel Purchase Mistakes to Avoid
1. Cheap stuff trap – I prided myself on buying cheap chic. I started buying cheap clothing when I graduated from college. I was living in New York City with a roommate. Before then, my mom bought me clothes. My first “job” was an internship. I needed to stretch my earnings between food, commuting, and my new office job.
My favorite place to shop was Fordham Road in the Bronx. I would go immediately to the clearance racks. It was such a rush for me to be able to find $5 shoes, $2 shirts, $10 dresses. You get the idea.
Problem was that these clothes were cheap both price wise and quality wise.
Pants never quite fit. Shirts didn’t button in the front. The jewelry bent or broke after a few wears. I would never be able take any of the stuff I bought on an international trip.
Yet, I always told myself, at least it was cheap, so I didn’t waste too much money .
2. Return it rut – I was queen of the “return it if I don’t like it” mantra. If I bought a more expensive item, I would tell myself that I would return it. This problem got even worse once I started shopping online. Amazon’s easy returns became my Achilles heel. I would say I would return items, but never did. What did end up happening I impulse bought a lot more. If you’re like me, the following starts happening:
You buy things too quickly without doing the proper research
You buy items in multiple sizes
You forget to return it
You wait so long to return an item you only get store credit
You have to pay a fee to return an item.
You never quite end up saving money because you’re spending time, effort, energy, ink, paper, time, returning items.
3. Sale suck – if you’re like me, you’ve fallen for the oldest retail trick of the book: You bought an item just because it was on sale. This is different from buying an item that you’ve been watching and know that the sale price is a good deal.
I have purchased stuff only because it’s on sale whether I needed it or not.
4. Never window shopping – I am totally guilty of trying to keep up with the Jones. I like to be stylish and travel a lot for work. I often pop into stores to see the most recent fashion.
I wish I could have learned to be more patient. Case in point: last year I found a white jumpsuit that I absolutely adored at Anthropologie. I envisioned myself wearing it on a boat somewhere. I purchased it for over $100. Over the past year, I have only worn it once—mostly because I’m terrified of wearing white suits.
This year, I went into Forever 21 and actually found a similar white jumpsuit made out of exactly the same material for 1/4 of the price. I’m kicking myself for making an impulsive expensive buy.
If only I had kept my wallet closed, and truly window shopped.
5. Neglecting to invest in quality – after thousands of miles traveled, I have realized that I need to start to invest in better quality items. I need quality clothes and quality luggage. Things with a warranty.
6 things you can do to be a travel savvy buyer
- Sidestep the cheap stuff trap – just because something’s cheap, you don’t have to buy it
- Shop like returns don’t exist – Returning items is not a good use of anyone’s time. Last year
NPR did a poll. They found that 60% of online shoppers who ended up with an item they wanted to return have just held onto it. Yes folks, that’s more than half. Another 26% give the merchandise away, 7% end up throwing the item out, and 7% have resold it.
- Really window shop – Window shopping when done well can save you time an effort. This is a time when look don’t touch comes in handy
- Sale is just another 4-letter word – Avoid buying an item for the sole reason that it’s on sale.
- Be patient – if there is a trendy, high-ticket item you want, but it stretches your budget, don’t get it. Chances are it’ll eventually go on sale or you’ll be able to find a copycat look for less.
- Buy travel staples with a warranty – Sometimes it takes the wheels falling off your luggage in the middle of a Dubai airport for you to realize that maybe just maybe you should’ve spent a little more on a quality item. There are lots of items with long warranties. Several brands of luggage even have lifetime warranties. Save your self the headache, go for quality items you can use again and again