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Travel can really throw a curve ball in your budget, but for anyone with a case of wanderlust, it’s also an inevitable expense. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, how do I afford to travel. Part of the answer to that question is making travel a priority in my budget. The second is utilizing these tips and tricks to save money without sacrificing luxury or quality.
MONEY SAVING TRAVEL TIPS
1. Credit Card Points –
This is number one for a reason, and it’s one of the most useful and powerful money saving tips when it comes to travel. Use your current spending power to help rack up points that can save you big bucks on your next holiday. Also, be sure to research the best travel credit cards for your specific travel style.
I personally use and suggest sticking with one airline alliance, and getting their credit card to gain airline miles. In addition, more generic travel points credit card is also extremely useful, as many provide double and triple reward points on all travel spendings. My favorite travel credit cards are the Delta Gold American Express and the Chase Ink Business Preferred Visa. Both of which have amazing signup bonuses that can each equate to over $1,000 in points value.
2. Stay Locally –
Who doesn’t love the luxury of a 5-Star Hotel? But, sometimes prices can be a bit outrageous. Some great options for snagging incredible deals on luxury properties are to book locally. What I mean by this, is to take advantage of sites like Airbnb. Home sharing sites can offer some incredibly unique, and luxurious, properties, but are at half the price of a hotel. It also gives you the chance to immerse yourself as a local in your destination.
3. Pack Snacks –
The variety of food offered in airports and on the plane can definitely be categorized as subpar and extremely overpriced. Save your travel money, and bring your favorite snacks and an empty water bottle. Not only will you be eating better, and probably healthier, but you don’t have to waste $8 on that measly bag of nuts.
4. Travel in the Off-Season –
High season is not always as great as it’s cracked up to be. Avoid steep prices and crowds, and explore some of your bucket list destinations during the offseason. Though, do note, that some destinations, in particular, are not recommended in the offseason due to inclement weather that completely hinder the overall experience. This includes most Mediterranean, beach destinations outside of summer and early fall period.
5. Careful Where You Convert & Get Cash –
Using the wrong ATM or converting near tourist hubs can cost you literally hundreds of dollars. To ensure you are getting the best conversion rate, I always recommend ordering the currency of your next destination from your home bank, prior to departure.
For withdrawing additional cash in destination, check if your bank card has partnerships with any foreign banks, to help you save on ATM fees. If not, a good rule of thumb is to use official bank ATMs that require a bank card swipe to enter. Avoid publicly located and third-party cash machines. Unofficial bank ATMs tend to provide horrible conversion rates and ridiculous fees. Not to mention, they are near tourist areas and in public spaces that could be subject to card scams.
6. Sign Up for Flight Deal Alerts –
Who doesn’t love a good deal, and particularly on airline tickets? Signing up for flight deal alerts via email subscriptions is definitely worth it. Some of my favorites are Scott’s Cheap Flights and Skyscanner. Who knows, it may even inspire your next trip.
7. Avoid Tourist Traps –
Dining near main sites or attractions typically indicates that you’re eating at a tourist trap. Not only does this rob you of the chance to experience local cuisine and culture, but it will likely cost you a pretty penny. Avoid this disappointing culinary experience altogether and do some research ahead of time on where to eat. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t be shy about asking locals for advice.