Money Pitfalls: Berlin Edition

Starbucks Dee

When I go travelling I usually have a daily budget in my head, but I don’t always manage to stick to it. I like to look back and think of travel expenses I could have avoided if I had. Today I am sharing my Berlin mistakes.

Travel ticket – I wanted a 7 days ticket, but you can only buy those at U Bahn Stations and there were none near where I was. So I had to spend €1.70 to get to one way.

Day card – I also spent €6.90 on a day ticket and ended up just taking 4 trams. The weather changed – and so did my plans.

Water – A lot of stores sell ‘still’ mineral water when it in fact still has some bubbles/fizziness. This type of water just makes me thirsty so I don’t drink it. Gone forever are the 3 euros.

Tour – I have only had good things to say about all the free New Europe tours I did (when you pay what you think it’s worth at the end), so when I read Red Berlin description I thought I could give their paid tours a chance. While I thought it was going to be a look at life in communist Berlin it was more of a Berlin Wall Tour. It was bad and €10 is what I usually give at the end of the tour, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

Starbucks – I mean it wasn’t essential, but it was mere laziness. You know when you arrive at the start of the tour and decide to get a drink and something on the side so you can sit down and make use of the Wi-Fi (that for some reason never works for me). I did that and €9 faded into oblivion.

Food – Germans tend to put meat into everything and it isn’t always obvious on the packaging. When I bough a sandwich that read mozzarella and spinach on the front I did not expect to find pork in it. Since I don’t eat pork I pretty much threw away €4.50.

Pretzel – Pretzels are good, but butter pretzels are soo much better – and I don’t mind paying an one euro extra. But at a Christmas Market I was sold a normal pretzel for a butter one. There went my €1.

So, that’s just over €35 (£28 or $42) wasted.

PS – don’t skip paying on transport – I saw an unfortunate girl get caught on the train by the plain-clothes inspector and handed a €40 fine – now that’s a money mistake!

What are your money pitfalls on holiday?

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  1. To be honest good question. Normally I tend to walk a lot when visiting other cities, so I don’t buy the daily ticket, as I’ve learn it tends to be pointless. Another thing where I don’t spend money are the famous travel cards with discounts to museums and other attractions. Again, I prefer to walk outside, explore the buildings, find food markets and I tend to skip museums, therefore if I want to see something in particular I’ll check online and buy in advance. Same goes if I need a train journey to go from A to B, I check all the ways to get there and book in advance, even if it’s a taxi to pick me up at the airport. Also I no longer buy souvenirs that will end up going to a box. I take photos instead, loads of them. And rather then buying silly things for my friends, if I know they care, I’ll just buy a postcard. My mom used to spend a lot of money in souvenirs and I’m convinced it tends to be a waste of money. And that’s all I remember for now

  2. That’s very helpful advice! I love new Europe tours too, the Berlin one is the best I’ve experienced. When I went to Rome, I spent ages looking for a shop that sold a simple bottle of water. When I did, it was so expensive and as it was summer I would drink it all and would have to trek dehydrated around the city to find the next shop… However, there are lots of fountains called Nasoni around the city. They’re, free, fresh and cold. Perfect for a budget traveller on a mission!

  3. I hate to admit it, but while in Berlin there were a few days that I didn’t buy tram tickets! It was just so tempting because I never ran into an inspector… Great post

  4. I went over budget once, in Barcelona. I still don’t know where I spend so much money on. I just wasn’t keeping track of my spending. Ever since I’ve never been over budget luckily.

  5. I am very guilty of falling into the Starbucks trap – I don’t even like Starbucks that much! But it’s just the easy way out when you know their food and drinks and the free wifi! I also tend to waste money on taxis when I cannot be bothered working out how to use the public transport… which can add up really quickly!

  6. I’m also quite guilty of spending too much on coffee.. and many other little things that I don’t really take into account throughout the day. It’s good that you pay attention to where you are wasting a few dollars here and there, it will help you be more mindful of your budget! I’m planning to challenge myself to spend a week in Iceland this spring on as low a budget as possible (where it counts), so I could learn a thing or two from you.

  7. 35 euros is a pretty cheap education. When I mess up, I always call it an education, then I don’t feel so bad. And I rarely need the same lesson twice.

  8. I’m visiting Berlin in March and this post will be at the back of my mind for certain money situations, thank you! x

  9. Starbucks gets me every time.. I finally got into the habit of bringing a thermos of tea around with me….but…when you sit at a nice coffee place you aren’t just paying for the coffee/tea, it’s also a nice atmosphere to sit and strike up a conversation with a local!

    (Just maybe not 3-4 times a day :p )