Planning to travel soon? Here are five quick tips for making practical, money-saving decisions while you travel:
1. Bring your no-fee credit cards. If your vacation plans will land you overseas, make sure to check with your credit card companies to find one that does not charge you a foreign transaction fee with each purchase. These fees typically average close to 3% of every purchase and can add up very quickly when using your credit card for larger expenses, like hotel accommodations and transportation.
2. Be “smart” with your smartphone. Depending on where you’re headed, roaming rates can add up quickly. I'm talking hundreds of dollars a day, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Check with your service provider to make sure your plan covers calls and internet access where you’re headed, without hidden fees. When traveling to cities you are unfamiliar with, smartphone apps are wonderful tools for finding the cheapest gas stations, nearest ATMs and restaurant coupons.
3. Research public transportation options. Public transportation (e.g. subways, ferries, municipal bike rentals, trains) in a new city give you a real flavor for the area you’re vacationing in, and it can save you quite a bit of cash compared to high-priced taxis and rental car services.
4. Get creative with your meals. One of the most exciting things to explore in a new city is its cuisine. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a good chunk of change on every meal. Most trendy and expensive restaurants offer smaller portions of their dinner menus during lunch hours at a fraction of the price. So hit the over-priced tourist spots during the day and enjoy the local bars’ and pubs’ happy hour deals in the evening for even more authentic and less expensive options.
5. Take advantage of free and discounted attractions. Parades, festivals, art fairs and farmers markets are just a few free events most cities have that give you a great taste of the local culture. Research these types of events a few weeks in advance to help create a budget-friendly itinerary. And don’t forget to scope out local deals through popular apps, such as Groupon, to save big on hot attractions.
If you follow these five basic money-saving tips, I think you’ll be off to a great start to a budget-friendly vacation. If you are headed somewhere soon, enjoy your trip!