Airline Reward Credit Card
Before you start planning your trip, pick up an airline reward credit card, or at least a travel rewards credit card. With such a card you can start to earn airline miles and save money towards buying a ticket. If you grab a card now, in a few years you might have enough points to pay for the flight completely. Even if you want to take a trip at the end of the year, every little bit helps.
You’ve probably heard of Airbnb, which is a nice alternative to hotels, but it has reached a point where it isn’t saving you all that much money. It just puts you in a residential home. You can try to go with a hostel, in some places works out well, yet even then you might end up spending too much. Instead, sign up for a Couch Surf account. This is free and it introduces you to people around the world who are willing to let you sleep on their couch for free. it’s a great way to meet people and it really helps save you some money. Now, it generally only works when traveling on your own (it may work as a pair, depending on the location), but it’s hard to beat a free night stay. It is nice to toss a few dollars to the person for their time or using their shower, but even so, it’s a great deal.
If you are planning on visiting museums when visiting a certain location, look ahead of time to see if there is a museum card. Typically (especially in Europe and the United States) cities have museum cards. You pay a discounted rate and can get into these different museums whenever you want for a set period of time.
You may feel inclined to exchange a large amount of money in the airport before hitting the streets. Avoid doing this. Money exchange within the airport is usually the most expensive location to do this. Take out just what you need for a day or so and then stop at a money exchange location near where you’ll be staying. You’ll receive better rates and it will help you save some cash along the way.
Shopping with a credit card while traveling is the way to go. It gives you protection a debit or cash just doesn’t provide. Plus, it is safer to travel with. However, many cards charge an international fee when shopping overseas. Instead, look around for credit cards that don’t charge the international charges. Most travel cards offer you this option, but look around and you’ll save money.
Earn that Extra Cash
Putting some extra cash away towards your vacation will help you enjoy that trip of a lifetime. How can you do this though? Sign up for services like Ebates. It is a free sights that gives you cash back when shopping with thousands of retailers online. This is free money back into your account. If you shop a good amount online you can earn a few hundred dollars by the end of the year, which can go a long way on your trip.
The Flight Deal
Flightdeal.com is one the best website for flight and hotel deals. Often times hotels and airlines have to quickly sell flights so there are flash sales (or even errors). Flight Deal scours hundreds of sites and posts updated buying information. You need to move fast on these listings as most only last for a day or two before sold out, but if you want to save a good amount of money, this is where to go.
Free International Calling
Keeping in contact with people back home is expensive if you don’t know where to turn. T-Mobile offers free international roaming in many locations. If you don’t have T-Mobile check out Google’s Project Fi.
Skyline Mile Rewards
Sign up for the skyline miles for the airlines you’re looking at. Then, sign up for their reward programs, which can include dining at restaurants or shopping at certain stores. You connect a credit card and then receive airline miles for purchases. This is another way to chip away at that final cost.
Ditch the Rental Insurance
Check with your credit card. You likely already have rental insurance. No need to pay for it twice.
Know the Taxi Situation
When traveling to a foreign country, you may be taken for an expensive ride. Know the taxi situation ahead of time. For example, if you step out of the airport in Bangkok you’ll end up being quoted an expensive price, but if you look for a metered taxi, you’ll pay a fraction of it. Even in the U.S. this happens. Step out of the airport in Las Vegas, taxi drivers will ask if you want to take the freeway to the strip or your hotel. Sounds faster, so most say yes, but this is significantly more expensive than the other option as it is longer. Know your taxi situation before hand.
Rewards Transfer Bonus
Many travel reward credit cards provide mile transfer bonuses (such as converting your points with a 40% bonus over to a certain airline). Take advantage of this. You’ll nab that flight faster and cheaper.
Ditch the Checked Bags
Checking bags is expensive. Pack light and ditch the bags. You’ll save hundreds.
If possible, travel off season. Flights and hotels are discounted and will go for far less.
Book in Advance
The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be. So look to book your accommodations when you know about when and where you want to travel.