6 Ultimate Money-Saving Tips for Travelers


If you're addicted to travel like I am, you know that travel expenses can rack up fast. Between airfare, accommodations, and food, cost is one of the biggest factors that prevents people from traveling as much as they'd like to.

But with a little bit of research and legwork upfront, there are easy ways to travel for much less than you may have thought possible. (See also: 6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel)

1. Sign up for a travel rewards credit card

Maybe you've heard this tip before, but if you're still on the fence, it is high time you join the club. You can save a lot of money just by signing up for a credit card. That's because travel rewards credit cards often offer a big welcome bonus that can earn you free travel when you meet a spending requirement within a fixed amount of time. (See also: How to Get a Free Vacation From Credit Card Rewards in Nine Months or Less)

Use your card for purchases you would make anyway to collect rewards and before you know it, you'll have enough to book your next trip.

See also: The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards

2. Own a business? Get a business credit card that will reward you with travel

Business credit cards often come with higher rewards bonuses, though you will often have to meet a higher minimum spending requirement, too. Put all your business expenses on a card that offers travel rewards and pool them together with your personal card for even quicker returns.

3. Never pay an overpriced ATM fee again

ATM fees can add up quickly, especially overseas. When you make a withdrawal outside your bank network, you may be charged an out-of-network withdrawal fee by your bank, a non-customer withdrawal fee by the ATM owner, and a foreign transaction fee by the debit card networks such as Visa and MasterCard.

One solution: Open a checking account with Charles Schwab. The bank and brokerage house automatically refunds any ATM fees you accrue at the end of every month. The checking account is linked to a Schwab One brokerage account, and both accounts are free with no minimum account balance requirement.

Alternatively, with a Capital One 360 checking account you'll have access to fee-free withdrawals at 55,000 ATMs in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Puerto Rico, Australia, and Mexico.

See also: 11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling

4. Sign up for flight deal alerts

If you feel frustrated that you're not getting the best deals on airfare, you can easily start saving by subscribing to airline newsletters, which announce all of their sales. You can also sign up to receive news of flight deals from websites such as the Daily Flight Deal and Scott's Cheap Flights. They scour the web and pass along the best deals to subscribers.

See also: How to Book the Cheapest Airfare

5. Buy your domestic ticket two months before your trip

According to research done by CheapAir.com, the cheapest time to buy a domestic airline ticket is 21–112 days in advance, with the average being 54 days. The website based its figures on a study looking at 1.3 billion airfares.

The best time to book an international ticket varies widely, depending on your destination. For Canada, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America, the best time is 70–75 days in advance, on average. For Europe, it's about four months; Asia, 160 days; and for the Caribbean and South Pacific islands, it's 320 days — nearly 11 months out.

6. Book accommodations with a vacation rental site

Hostels might not be your idea of a good time, but there are other "budget" accommodation options you should be considering to save money on your next trip.

Airbnb and other vacation rental sites allow you to stay in an individual's spare room or even a whole house or apartment, often at competitive rates that can undercut costly hotel stays. Check out these cities where Airbnb can save you big time compared to hotel rates.

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