Are you planning a trip overseas? Whether for business or pleasure, international travel can certainly be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, with some strategic planning and tricks, you can have a wonderful trip on a tight budget. The following are some ways you save money if you’re traveling overseas:
Currency exchange can easily be one of the biggest overlooked expenses of international travel, especially if you’ll be on an extended trip. But depending on where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone for, you could spend a lot of money by simply exchanging money for local currency. Not only are there service fees that you may have to pay, but there is also the value of the local currency compared to the United States Dollar to consider. This is why it’s always important to know what the current currency exchange rates are so that you’ll know you’re getting a good deal when you find one (and it’s almost never at the airport). A lot of the time, you might be better off withdrawing cash from the ATM with your debit card, or just using your credit card when you can (assuming you have a credit card that doesn’t impose foreign transaction fees).
Flying to and from the country you’re visiting might be the biggest expense of your trip, but there are ways you can cut down on your next international airplane ticket. If you’re flexible with your travel plans, aim for departing and returning in the middle of the week. If you fly at the beginning or end of a weekend, you’ll likely pay extra for it. Even booking your ticket on a weekday (except for Friday) has been known to show lower airfare options. You might also want to consider applying for a credit card that offers airline miles for every transaction, and you could eventually rack up enough points for discounted (or free) international airfare.
Foreign transaction fees
Speaking of credit cards, you’ll want to avoid paying foreign transaction fees, as briefly mentioned above. If you don’t have a credit card that waives these fees, and you don’t qualify for one that does (or you simply don’t want to apply for a new one), you may want to consider leaving your credit card at home or just taking it along for emergencies. If you have to pay foreign transaction fees and you’re using your credit card for just about every purchase you make, those fees will add up fast. If you aren’t sure whether your current card imposes foreign transaction fees, be sure to contact your credit card issuer before your trip.
If you’re open-minded to sharing your room with strangers, but you’re looking to cut down significantly on your next international getaway, consider a lodging option that is not nearly as common in the United States: hostels. A hostel isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an adventurous traveler looking to meet new friends and save as much as possible the next time you traveler internationally, it could be a terrific option. You’ll share accommodations with anywhere from a couple other strangers, to possibly over a dozen. Usually, the more people the room allows, the cheaper the nightly rate will be.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.