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How to Save Money While Traveling Abroad

If you’re considering taking a trip abroad, congratulations! Traveling can be an enriching experience that broadens your horizons and creates lasting memories. However, it’s important to be mindful of your budget so that you can enjoy your trip without breaking the bank. In addition to starting a vacation budget well in advance, we have 5 credit counseling tips to help you cut costs and maximize your funds while traveling abroad. Let’s dive in!

Use ACCC's tips to save money while traveling abroad.

Use ACCC’s tips to save money while traveling abroad.

1. Choosing a Destination

Your choice of destination plays a significant role in your travel budget. Some locations are naturally more expensive than others. Research the currency and conversion rates of the countries you’re interested in visiting. This will give you an idea of how far your money will go and help you plan accordingly. Take into account the cost of flights, accommodation, local transportation, meals, and popular tourist attractions. Consider exploring off-the-beaten-path areas that offer a more affordable experience without compromising on adventure and cultural immersion.

2. Withdraw Money

Before leaving for your trip, consider withdrawing the necessary funds. By doing so, you avoid the risk of overspending and accumulating charges on your credit card – which can lead to debt.  Additionally, withdrawing money before you leave can save you from paying conversion fees at foreign ATMs. If you anticipate needing to withdraw funds while on your trip, review your credit card terms and conditions to understand the details of foreign transaction fees. Compare rates at different locations, such as airport currency exchange stations or local malls, to ensure you get the best deal.

3. Cash In On Rewards

Make the most of your credit card rewards and loyalty programs that may offer benefits for your trip. If you have accumulated frequent flyer miles, check if they can be utilized for discounted or free flights. Explore credit cards that offer cashback rewards or travel-specific perks. Assess your needs and choose a credit card that aligns with your travel goals. Just be sure to consider factors such as annual fees, interest rates, and foreign transaction fees. By capitalizing on these rewards, you can offset some of your travel expenses and save money in the process.

4. Use Public Transportation

When traveling to destinations that have reliable and affordable public transportation systems, take advantage of them. Purchase a pass or card that grants you access to subways, metros, trams, or buses for the duration of your stay. Most tourist attractions are easily accessible via public transportation and are well-mapped out. Opting for public transportation over taxis or rental cars can save you a significant amount of money. Not only will you save on transportation costs, but you’ll also contribute to sustainable travel practices by reducing your carbon footprint.

5. Packing Tips

Proper packing can go a long way in saving you both time and money during your trip. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

a. Pack Medicine

Prepare a small medicine bag with essential over-the-counter medications. Unexpected illnesses or minor ailments can quickly put a dent in your travel budget if you have to buy medication abroad. Having your own supply can save you from the hassle of finding suitable alternatives or paying exorbitant prices for medications on the go.

b. Pack Snacks

Bring along some snacks in your bag. These can come in handy during long flights, bus rides, or when you’re exploring without easy access to affordable food options. Snacks can help you curb hunger and avoid impulse purchases of expensive meals while on the move, allowing you to maintain your budget for enjoying the local cuisine.

c. Check the Weather

Before packing your bags, check the weather forecast for your destination. This simple step can prevent unnecessary purchases of clothing, accessories, and other items that you may need if the weather conditions are different from what you expected. By packing for the weather, you can avoid the additional expenses of buying unnecessary clothing, umbrellas, or sunglasses while on your trip.

With these tips, you can save money and make the most of your travel experience abroad. Remember to choose your destination wisely, withdraw funds in advance to avoid fees, and to take advantage of credit card rewards. Don’t forget to utilize public transportation and to pack smartly as well! By being mindful of your spending, you can maximize your funds and have a memorable trip without compromising your financial well-being.

Additionally, it’s crucial to have a contingency plan and emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses while traveling. Consider setting aside a separate travel fund or maintaining a line of credit for emergencies to ensure that you’re prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Have fun, and be safe on your travels!

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.


Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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