10 Travel Tips: Save Money on International Travel
International travel can be expensive – but there are definitely ways to cut your costs, so that you can (you guessed it!), travel for longer. These tips are easy to implement and won’t lessen your vacation – just your costs! Here are our top tips to save money on international travel:
1. Scout for good flights. There are many flight search engines to look for deals. But think ahead – is it worth the gas for a 5 hour drive to a different airport, or the airport food costs of a 7-hour layover while you’re waiting for your 3rd connecting flight? It might be cheaper to book direct flights, and have more time on the ground at your destination.
2. Car Rental. You might not need to rent a car, if you’re heading to a place where public transportation is plentiful and easy to use. Think hard about what you want to see, and where you want to go. Want to drive the Ring of Kerry? Rent a car. Want to explore Paris? Skip the car!
3. Accommodations. We prefer to rent homes or apartments while we travel. Not only is it less expensive, but we have a kitchen, laundry, and usually a yard to relax and play in. If you’re traveling alone and a home rental doesn’t make sense, use a service like Tripping.com to find rooms or apartments to rent (and people to meet up with).
4. Phones. You want to stay in touch while you’re traveling – and cell phones are critical. With International Phone Cards, you can save money and use your own phone without paying those crazy roaming rates.
5. Internet. Rather than spending money on wifi cafes, choose your accommodations wisely. Rent a home or apartment with internet, or make sure your hotel has strong wifi. You’ll save a lot of money (and time) this way.
6. Coffee. Did you know that in Paris, drinking your espresso at a table can cost up to 5 times more than drinking it standing up at the counter? Watch what the locals do, and copy them. You can bet they aren’t going to be paying a lot every time they want some caffeine.
7. Food. Along the lines of renting a home or apartment, visit markets and stock up on delicious, fresh food. Ask the market vendors for their favorite recipes. Cook that at home! If you’re going to eat out, eat out at lunchtime, when the prices are about half. And if you’re in Southeast Asia, forget cooking – visit the street markets and dine authentically, easily, and cheaply for all 3 meals.
8. Activities. It behooves you to look into passes. Cities usually have a cultural pass that has entrance to many activities and museums. If you’re retired, see if there is a senior discount. Book online to save money. And find lesser-known activities where the costs are cheaper – maybe the ziplining company that is a bit farther away from the city is less expensive – and less crowded.
9. Locals. Watch where the locals go. They know the best restaurants, cafes, music venues, and things to go. You might find yourself at a free concert in a small park, or at a library, listening to a poetry reading. And, you might find yourself making new friends!
10. Souvenirs. Instead of hitting up the gift shops in the most popular places, look around (see #9, above). Buy homemade tea, as we did in Kenmare, prints directly from an artist, or a hand-knitted Scottish sweater. You’ll be supporting local merchants, instead of large companies. And, your recipients will love their unique, one-of-a-kind memento!