Travel is one of the best ways to learn about the world we live in. Taking the opportunity to travel alone or with family is a priceless way of exploring the beauty of our earth.
Mark Twain in his humorous book, The Innocents Abroad said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” This Twain quotation is well used by writers, but the rarely quoted next sentence is even more interesting. Twain said “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Mark Twain encouraged people to travel, and wise travelers factor in the cost implications of every trip. This can allow an extended trip for the same money or travel on a budget that doesn’t wreck your finances.
The CEO of Effectify believes it is necessary to keep foreign travel trips within the manageable limits of your current financial ability. This way, you don’t end up in a situation where you enjoy your trip abroad and return home in economic distress. Here, he shares seven little secrets that help save money when traveling abroad.
Call Your Credit Card Company
There are two main reasons to call your credit card provider before you go.
The first reason is that the company may reject overseas transactions, because they are not expecting them. Call the company when planning the trip, to ensure the card will work overseas – some cards are only valid for domestic transactions. Call again within 24-48 hours before leaving, so they know to expect seeing those transactions. If you fail to call, they may reject your first transaction, and that is sure to be at the worst possible time!
The second reason is that overseas purchases usually carry additional charges from the credit card company. The same applies if you use a debit card overseas. Once you understand the charges, decide if it is better to use your credit card or debit card for transactions.
Use Cheaper or Cost-Free Commuting
Commuting is often one of the biggest areas to make significant savings. On a foreign vacation, do your research or ask locals about the best value transport in the areas you visit. One of the best ways of saving, if you have time, is walking. Check the safety of the areas you walk through first, and choose the scenic or most interesting route you can.
In addition, don’t discount the use of bicycles. Many cities now have one-way bike rentals. Again, be sure to ask locals about the safety of the areas you plan to pass through.
Use Your Mobile Phone to Research Accommodation
One way to save money on hotel accommodation or car rentals is by downloading a mobile app or searching travel sites. Some trips can be organized from home, and the accommodation and rentals prearranged.
For a more freewheeling vacation, you can make bookings as you go. Combine research at home with app checks when you are there, but watch out for events that use up accommodation. Apps are useful tools since they can monitor price changes and availability as you move around.
Plan for Your Food
Food is another expense where you can make good savings while traveling. To be a frugal and smart traveler, research where to find good and affordable foods. Again, you can do some of this by reviewing travel sites and gaining ideas from those who have gone before you. Locals are often the best source of information once you are there, so don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t just settle for chain restaurants.
Choose Travel Dates Wisely
Travel costs vary depending on the dates of the month or week you choose to travel. Again, leverage the experience passed on by others by checking on travel sites. Use flight cost comparison sites and try different dates, if you have the flexibility.
Check with your preferred airline and book your flights on the best days. Ask if the cost is lower when you book online, rather than over the phone. Sometimes there is a big difference between the two methods.
Take Care of Your Luggage Weight
Another area you can make good savings is in the weight of your luggage. Check with your airline to confirm the maximum luggage weight they can carry without extra charge. There are two sets of things you need to know. First, how many bags and the maximum weight to stow in the hold. Second, how many bags and their weight for carry-on.
Be sure to only take what you really need, and try to get the weight of your bags in the right range. Wear a heavy coat, boots or sweater if the destination is colder, and you are already at the weight limit.
Pay Attention to Communication Rates
Before traveling, call your phone service provider to learn the cost making international calls and texting. Ask if they have a plan that works for you in other countries. You are likely to be better off getting a local prepaid rechargeable sim card after you reach the destination. Research the options and make your choice.
Planning puts you in a better position to keep your expenses within a manageable budget and avoid unexpected bills.
These tips can help you save money when traveling abroad. Use these insights to seal all the loopholes that could hurt your pocket on future trips.