If your life goals include seeing a lot of the planet before you kick the bucket, making your Dollar, Euro or Yen go further when you travel can let you to do it without breaking your budget. Here are some of our favorite tidbits of advice for the cost-conscious wanderer:
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1). Know when to book-em, know when to walk away
You may have noticed that flight prices vary greatly depending on when you lock in the ticket. Whenever you travel at the last minute, you can guarantee that the airlines are going to squeeze you hard. On the other hand, planning ahead of time allows you to be a patient bargain hunter. A great tool to stalk your prey is the Hopper app (iPhone / Android) that monitors fare trends and makes predictions based on studying data on trillions of past flight prices. Hopper will send you an alert when it's the best time to pull the trigger based on expected fare trends for your planned flight.
For our recently booked flight to Paris, we got an alert from Hopper to buy when fares were $570 per ticket. We booked it and within a couple weeks the fare had already climbed to $827. Saving a couple hundred dollars per person on a flight may not be guaranteed but do give it a try - it's easy:
2). Swagbucks coupons and deals:
One of our favorite discount websites is Swagbucks. Before you book your trip, search for additional coupons and promos on Swagbucks so that you can earn cashback on your bookings. It's just a couple clicks away and getting an extra 3-5% off is a perk that gets you a little closer to affording the next trip.
3). Don't pay for airport parking - make your car pay you instead:
TravelCar is an innovative service that lets you park for free at the airport in exchange for allowing other travelers to drive your car. You get paid for every mile driven if your car gets used - you get free parking if it doesn't get used. That's a win or a Win. See this PennyHoarder blog post for more information.
4). Avoid foreign transaction fees - use your Schwab Visa:
If you have a brokerage account with Charles Schwab & Co., you get an ATM Visa card that has some great features:
- they reimburse any ATM fees you are charged, domestically and internationally,
- unlike most bank card, they do not charge foreign transaction fees (typically around 3%)
- they waive any hidden fees on foreign exchange (FX) rates.
Take your Schwab Visa Debit Card with you and you can pull cash as needed from foreign ATMs without worrying about a shocking amount in charges on your statement after you get back home. Read more here and here.
I hope our handful of tips was useful. Do share with us through the comments any of your favorites. We will be updating our Mindmap periodically to capture more information and strategies.
Disclosure: I own shares of Charles Schwab & Co.