International traveling can be fun, but let's not joke around, it can also be expensive. The cost of travel and the accommodations can quickly add up and that doesn't even include the costs of food and activities while you're there. How can you make the most of your next vacation without going over budget? By researching your options, planning your trip and never booking anything at the last minute.
If you're planning a vacation this summer here are four ways to save money while traveling overseas.
Tip #1: Check your financial services before you go
International banking is like international traveling, it's best to research your options before leaving home. Contact your financial institution to learn about fees while traveling abroad. It may be better to use your credit card instead of your debit card to avoid service charges.
Credit cards don't usually charge a fee for the convenience of swiping anywhere around the world, but you do have to keep the exchange rate in mind.
Tip #2: Always think about currency conversion
Something may seem like a good deal in local currency, but once you convert it into U.S. Dollars it may not be such a bargain. Always ask yourself if you would pay that price at home, don't spend outside your normal budget just because you're on vacation.
The currency exchange rate fluctuates daily so give yourself a good six months to watch the market and convert your money. If you wait until the last minute you may be stuck with a not so great exchange rate. It's also probably best to exchange your money into foreign currency before you leave because you'll need money for food, snacks and probably a taxi to get to your hotel.
Tip #3: Plan a round trip
Connections can be a little inconvenient, but they save a lot of money. If you're visiting more than one country flying into and out of the same airport can save big bucks. International traveling will be much easier with a simple route so if you're going to several countries try to get back to your original destination so you can plan (and purchase) a round trip.
Use discount travel websites such as Priceline or Hotwire to compare prices with different routes and travel dates. Sometimes leaving a day early or later can also have save on costs. Hotwire offers "more than 173,000 hotels throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia." There is a vacation package, car rental and hotel deal just waiting to be booked.
Tip #4: Call your cell phone provider
Buzz Feed says that knowing about your cell phone coverage can help avoid unexpected charges while traveling overseas. "Using an unlocked Smartphone lets you buy and use SIM cards in each country you go to, giving you local rates that are typically a fraction of what your provider wants to charge you. Call your cell provider and ask about getting your phone unlocked — you may be able to do it for free or a small fee, especially if you're off contract or close to it."
Once your vacation is booked contact your financial institution to learn about all the services they offer for your convenience while traveling internationally. Coosa Valley Credit Union offers checking accounts with E-Services such as E-bill Pay and E-Statements so you can keep on top of your money while overseas.
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