Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Yearning to travel? Keep it affordable.

You’ve probably heard the term “revenge travel,” which has become popular since COVID restrictions have been lifted. People who put off vacations or other discretionary travel are now starting to book trips with a vengeance!

With increased demand, it’s no surprise that prices for flights, cruises, hotels, and more have increased substantially. Since most people must consider costs to stay on budget, travelers are looking for additional ways to save money as they plan their next trip.

Before you go

Set a budget. Decide how much money you expect to spend by estimating all modes of travel, accommodations, food, and activities. Book whatever you can as soon as dates and places are firm so you won’t be disappointed if something you really wanted to do was sold out. Online sites for hotels, car rental, etc. are worth checking out and may offer discounts, especially if you have used the site before.

Book flights. There’s no day or time proven to consistently offer better prices. Some people think they might get a discount if they wait until the last minute to book—when airlines are trying to fill empty seats. On the hand, travelers who plan far ahead have a better chance of getting their preferred times and seat selections. Recommendations are to book domestic flights 3-4 months ahead and international travel 8-10 months prior to travel, but it really comes down to your personal comfort level.


Get local currency.
If you’re traveling internationally, it’s often a good idea to exchange some money at your local bank prior to leaving. You may need cash in the local currency soon after arrival for taxis, food, or tips for porters. Most cities will have ATM machines to get more cash if needed as you go along (but factor that amount into your pre-trip budget). Exchanging money at the airport or in a hotel is usually more expensive, so try to avoid those higher fees.

Pack lightly.
Avoid extra fees for too much luggage or suitcases that are too heavy to maneuver through airports comfortably. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also save your back! Having a credit card for the airline you plan to travel on will often allow you to check one piece per passenger with no charge. Loyalty credit cards for hotel, car rental, etc. can also save money if you plan ahead and are able to accrue enough points.

As you return

Tax refunds. Many countries have a VAT (value added tax) on goods purchased regardless of cost, although some countries have a minimum amount your must spend to get the refund. This tax is paid at the time of purchase, but if you keep your receipt you can get the tax amount refunded at the airport. Look for specific booths where you apply for the refund--and allow extra time for the transaction.

Exchanging currency.

It’s not smart to have a substantial amount of local currency left in your wallet at the end of a trip. While many countries/ cities take credit cards (and that’s an easy way to pay), go ahead and use cash still in your wallet if you’re nearing departure time. Or go shopping in the airport for that must-have item before catching your flight. If you return home with more than a few coins (which can’t be exchanged), you’ll pay a second fee to exchange paper money back to U.S dollars.

  Photos from free sources

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