Travel is probably the most complex and expensive activity you will ever experience, and hopefully the most enjoyable, with plane tickets, car rentals, meals, hotels, local transportation, museums, parks, planning is essential, and searching for deals can save you quite a bit of money. Here are a few tips that will help you in money saving.
Schedule your trip during an off-peak season, plane tickets are less expensive and you will have more choices in choosing a hotel room, tourist attractions will be less crowded and less expensive, all in all you will have a nicer experience.
Buy plane tickets at least three months in advance, Kayak is a good website to search for tickets and hotels, they even show you a graph which shows you date and price fluctuation with a prediction on possible increase or decrease in prices, definitely a great tool!
When traveling abroad you will need to exchange your local currency to that of the country you are traveling to, the best place to exchange is usually in the country you are traveling to, this is where you will get the best exchange rate, however beware, some exchanges are not legit and you might end up receive fake or counterfeit currency! The worst place to exchange is probably at your bank, you will most like get the worst exchange rate. It is best to search online for the best exchange places depending on your destination country. Another important issue to look out for is the amount of cash you are allowed to bring into the destination country, there are limits, and strict laws. You must declare how much cash you are bringing into a country. The other option is to carry a small amount of cash and mostly use you credit card for purchases, restaurant, hotels, however beware that you will incur foreign transaction fees.
Make hotel reservations three months in advance, again Kayak is a great website to search through, make sure to read the hotel reviews before deciding. Use Google Maps street view when researching hotels, it isn’t worth saving $20 per day if you have to use transportation to get to a convenient store late at night, or if your hotel is located far from public transportation. Make sure your hotel is strategically located and that your savings are actually worth it.
Credit Card use abroad
Find out which of you credit cards charge charge less for foreign currency transactions. Most credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, some charge a percentage charge on top of the foreign transaction fee, make sure to read the fine print and don’t hesitate to call your credit card travel specialist to negotiate rates and fees while abroad, you would be surprised what a simple phone call can do.
Transportation and Car Rental
It is always best to get around using public transportation, just make sure it is safe, and familiarize yourself with schedules, including local holidays. Always carry a small amount of cash in case you need to take a taxi back to your hotel or residence. Car rental can be expensive abroad, mileage and gas rules can differ greatly from what you are accustomed to. Make sure that the car is equipped with a GPS guide.
Parks and Museums
If you are interested in visiting parks and museums, search for ticket booklets which are sold online, that allow you to visit multiple sites at a lower price than you would pay if buying them locally and individually. Be sure to research the website and read reviews to make sure they are legitimate.
If you need to call home don’t use the hotel phone service, it could be very expensive, it is best to buy calling cards, or sign up for a service before traveling that will allow you to call home at a very low rate, you would receive a local access number use can use in the country you are visiting, and instructions on how to dial your home number.