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6 Money-Saving Tips From the World's Smartest Travelers

We all have our money-saving routines for daily life.  However, when it comes to traveling abroad, most of our well-honed frugal habits won't do us much good.  Since most of us could use a few travel tips from the experts, we've assembled a choice selection for you to consider. Here are six of the best bits of advice from famous travel gurus you've undoubtedly heard of.

 

 



 

1.  Be flexible and go where your currency has more value.

Seth Kugel, the Frugal Traveler of the New York Times, tells us to travel where our money has the greatest bang for the buck...literally!

...how cheap a country is can change from year to year, especially as its currency changes.

-Seth Kugel, New York Times travel writer of "Frugal Traveler"

For example, Japan is a good deal right now, where the Pound is almost 15% stronger than it was just 12 months ago. To stay on top of currencies as they fluctuate, check sites like Investopedia or money.aol.co.uk, which regularly publish articles and data on foreign currency fluctuations.

 

2.  Get in line for your food.

Famed budget travel guru Rick Steves makes no bones about it: find out where the locals eat out for cheap and follow suit.  This may mean such unconventional dining options like city hall cafeterias and eateries connected to schools, museums, and other institutions. Sure, you'll have to stand in line but "do as the locals do" and you'll gain a lot of insight on how people really live.



 

 

 

3.  Embrace package deals, but wisely.

Bundling air and hotel purchases as well as opting for the all-inclusive stay are both ways to save money.  But beware: for tropical vacations, Kate Simon of The Independent tells us that all-inclusives are not all the same.  While some are situated among a sea of similar tourist developments, effectively isolating you from any authentic experiences, others are not. Her advice is to find a resort that's located near a marina, for example.  That allows you to stroll out for a glimpse of real life.

The key for families who need to keep a tight grip on their spending is an all-inclusive package.  If you choose a good location, you can easily get beyond the hotel gates, even in the evening.

d-Kate Simon, The Independent

 

4.  Lock in currency exchange rates before you travel.

This travel tip comes to us from blogger Nora Dunn, who writes about financially sustainable travel.  She recommends pre-paid travel cards which she says are:

...a useful — and secure — alternative to debit cards and credit cards, as well as a way to hedge against currency risk.

Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo

Credit cards are handy when you're traveling abroad, but you do run the risk of foreign currency fluctuation.  The Pound may have been strong against the Yen when you booked your holiday (see Tip #1) but anything can happen in the meantime, as well as day-to-day while you're vacationing.  One way to remove that risk is with a pre-paid travel money card. You fund the card before you leave home, and the exchange rate you get is whatever it is on that day.  So, weeks later when you're finally strolling the streets of Barcelona or cruising through Florida, you won't be worrying about what's happening with foreign currency exchange rate- yours is locked in.  Of course timing this is key.  Aim for buying your travel money card when the Pound is strong against the Dollar or the Euro (typical foreign currencies for pre-paid travel cards).

 

5.  Adopt the AirBnB Mentality.

The idea of renting a place to stay from private individuals has taken off.  There are now other ways to fulfill your travel needs from private individuals, including renting a bicycle, a car, a surfboard, or even a set of skis.

 

6.  Remember: they have stores in other countries, too.  Pack light.

The more baggage you have, the more it's going to cost you to get to your destination.  Airlines are stacking up the ways to charge passengers every which way they see fit, and the most common fee is usually baggage-related.  Some airlines are now even charging for that second carry-on bag you used to take for granted. Do yourself a huge favor and pack light.  Your back will thank you later, as it will be saved from endless heave-ho as you struggle to manage an over-packed suitcase.  We think Michale Palin says it quite well, so we'll end with his words:

The truth is you don’t need to take 12 pairs of underpants with you. If you run out, you can always buy a new pair along the way.

-Micheal Palin, Travel writer & TV presenter

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