5 International Travel Tips

Planning a spring break or summer vacation? Making travel plans to distant, exotic locations can eat up your time, drain your money, and damper your enjoyment of the trip.

Below are five handy tips that could help you make the most of your vacation without draining your excitement or your bank account.

Be Flexible

If you’ve got time on your side and are still split on where might fulfill your holiday travel goals,, it could be worthwhile to let your budget make the destination choice for you.

Take a look at budget airliners that cater to specific countries or regions. If you aren’t picky and have time to shop around, check out companies like IcelandicAir, AerLingus, or LAN, where you can get a sense of the cost of flying to a variety of destinations.

Another factor you may want to consider before locking in your travel plans is the conversion rate of the dollar. You may be surprised just how far a few hundred greenbacks can get you in certain places. Check out the countries you will get the most value for your dollar.

Book Direct Lodging

Wherever you choose to stay, you can usually save a bundle on lodging by booking with verified vacation rentals. These rentals are put up by obliging property owners on places like airbnb, vrbo, and wimdu and can be gotten at a fraction of the per night cost of booking a hotel.

However, if the thought of staying in another person’s property isn’t your style, or if you want the private luxury of a personal room, there are ways of cutting costs there as well.

After you do your research on the booking sites and have compiled your best options, hold off on finalizing your purchase. Instead, call the hotel directly. Going this route removes the middleman fees and can frequently score you a better room at a lower cost.

Finally, for all of your booking, make sure to get confirmation and proof of your reservation. Having paper evidence of your purchase will help you avoid any unpleasant misunderstandings because of computer human error on hotel’s end

Travel Light

It isn’t a secret that the additional fees airliners will charge to get carry your luggage can be shocking. While avoiding a checked luggage fee entirely is nearly impossible, you can mitigate some of the cash burden by packing light.

To keep you luggage slim, bring just one carry-on bag, loaded with the essentials and one checked bag. The general checklist of things to pack in your carry-on should include your passport, documentation, medications, headphones, an extra pair of clothes (in case your checked bag is lost/delayed), snacks, and a good long book.

What is critical to cutting costs is making sure your checked bag is as light and compact as possible. Avoid packing heavy clothing, hair dryers, knicknacks or anything you can imagine doing without or picking up at your destination. Make sure you check the airlines’ carry-on size policy to ensure it fits in the overhead compartment. Zebit Market has a wide selection of carry-on and checked luggage sizes.

Instead, load up on low maintenance synthetic clothes that won’t wrinkle and will dry quickly. Once you spend some time out of the country, you will be thankful for the quick turnaround these clothes provide

Lastly, you should keep a record of everything you bring on the flight. Airlines do not have a perfect track record  of transporting 100% of their customers’ luggage. Writing down what you packed and keeping the luggage tag receipts will help you describe and recover any lost luggage if you are the unlucky traveler that day.

Get A Travel Card

Because of exchange fees and the risk of getting lost or stolen, cash doesn’t travel well. And travelers checks might even be worse.

Before you depart, apply for a travel credit card. While a lot of these cards center on earning rewards from constant travel, others are more useful for infrequent vacationers. The latter usually carry low or no annual fees and are better suited for use overseas than your standard card. Capital One’s VentureOne Rewards card and BankAmericard’s Travel Rewards cards are two popular choices, but you should shop around to find one that best suits your needs and habits.

The real benefit of these cards is that they reimburse or waive any foreign transaction fees, which generally adds 3 percent or more to your charge. Also, while U.S. banks have begun issuing chip cards as standard, they are absolutely necessary outside the states. Without that chip, your card is just a pretty piece of plastic.

Finally, and most importantly, if your card is lost or stolen, a quick call can shut down any unauthorized purchases.Be sure to keep a phone list of all your cards and banks in case you need to call to cancel a stolen card.

Avoid Roaming Charges

One of the biggest unanticipated sticker shocks when traveling actually occurs on the return. If you’re unaware, you can come home to find an outrageously expensive bill from your cell phone company outlining your data roaming charges.

The best tip to avoid these charges is to contact your provider and familiarize yourself with their data plan. After that, you can take steps to limit your international data charges by turning off data roaming on your phone and shutting down any apps that syncs your phone to the internet for updates or GPS.

Also, try to limit texting to only when absolutely necessary. Cell phone carriers can charge up to $0.25 per text sent and received. As a workaround to this, find an online sms service that you can access for free via wifi.

Finally, if you want to avoid these stopgap measures, there are companies that rent out sim cards or even cell phones to travelers. This measure might be necessary if your cell phone service does not work on international networks.
With these tips, some patience, and a good travel guide, your international vacation will be a rest for you and your wallet.