Friday 1 June 2012

Money Saving Tips for International Getaways

Planning International Getaways
Do you have a passport?
  • If not, get one… soon.  You can start here.  Save yourself money by getting the application completed and sent in at least 3 months before you travel.  Save yourself sanity by taking care of it right away.
  • If you do have one, find it.  Check the expiration date.  Make sure it is valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return.  Some countries will not let you enter unless this is the case.  If it expires shortly after your travel, apply for renewal.
Buy your airline tickets as soon as you know your itinerary.  People are planning their getaways much farther in advance than ever before, and airlines are raising ticket prices faster than ever.  Prices are higher right now than the were last summer, but likely not as high as they will get this summer.  Protect yourself by buying early… but not so early that you will have to pay outrageous change fees. Buying tickets 3 to 2 Months Prior is advisable. Trust me this will save you a lot of money.
Consider purchasing Travel Insurance, especially if the policy covers flight delays or cancellation. It can also help if your baggage is lost or delayed, loss of passport and very important medical coverage. Trust me you will need deep pockets if you fall sick in a foreign country. The medical expenses are too high. So consider buying the policy to save yourself a lot of money. It cost less than Rs.1000 for a 10 to 12 days Trip. For additional cost you can also insure yourself for trip cancellation & trip delays which will protect you from last minute cancellations of your trip because of unforseen situations.

Can you travel off-season?  The summer months are the most popular for traveling to most foreign destinations, but going spring or fall can often save you some serious cash.  Besides, tourist attractions may be less crowded at those times.  There are exceptions like Spring Break and Thanksgiving week.
Are you open to flying any day of the week?  Sundays are usually the most expensive day to fly, closely followed by Fridays.  Fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Satuarday to get the best deal on airfares. 

After Your Itinerary Is Decided, But Before You Travel

Once your flight is booked, check with us about what fees you will encounter:
  • Seat assignment fee
  • Baggage fees
  • Fuel surcharge add-ons
  • Ask about any others

If you must pay for baggage, considering sharing a suitcase with your sweetie and putting everything else in carry-ons.  This is especially helpful if you are likely to return with more than you take.  But make sure your suitcase stays under 20 kgs or you will not save money.
Keep an eye on currency exchange rates for the country/countries you will be visiting.  If the US Dollar gets a particularly high exchange rate one day, it might be a good idea to exchange some.  While it is widely advised that credit cards give you the best exchange rate, that doesn’t take into account additional fees that your bank may charge.  Besides, you may find having a bit of local currency when you arrive in a country keeps things running smooth.
Once your travel plans are finalized, call the customer service number on any credit/debit cards you want to take.
  • Give them your travel dates, and the countries/cities you will be visiting.
  • Ask about currency conversion fees, international ATM fees, & cash advance fees.
  • Be sure to ask if they have any applicable fees you have not asked about.  This will give you the true cost of using your cards internationally.
Know about tipping guidelines.  Not all countries/areas have the same tipping policy as we do in India, so find out how much you should and shouldn’t leave where.

At Your Destination

If transportation is not included in your getaway package, consider using public transportation.  Many cities have excellent subway systems… and even bus systems if you take the time to understand them.  Combining this with walking as much as you can will save you money over taking taxis everywhere.
If your meals are not included in your getaway price, try eating and shopping where the locals do. Ask someone you meet at your destination their favorite restaurant.  It will likely give you a more authentic experience as well as save you some money compared to eating at restaurants that cater to tourists.  It may also make you a friend or two, which could also lead to getting more tips.

If you have any other tips to include, please leave a comment.  If I can help you plan your international getaway, please contact travel & more at

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