Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Save Money While Vacationing Abroad

Exploring foreign shores and dining on exotic fare are what make up many dream vacations. But when you suspect a money changer has taken you for a ride or you’ve busted your budget after only two days, it can quickly become a nightmare. Here’s how to get the most for your money while vacationing overseas:

1.) Use credit cards 
Using credit cards while abroad will help you avoid the hassle and uncertainty of exchanging money. Before you board your flight, determine whether your card has a foreign transaction fee so you’ll understand the cost of using your card. Also, make sure your credit card company knows about your travels so they won’t flag purchases as fraud. Lastly, if you don’t have a chip-enabled card, carry your passport with you, as many European countries don’t accept magnetic-strip cards without identification.

2.) Know the local currency exchange rate 
While primarily using credit cards will minimize the hassle of exchanging currency, you will need some cash. That’s why it is good to know the current exchange rate before you set foot on foreign soil. You can access this information by downloading an exchange app like XE Currency or My Currency Converter. Also, always ask for the price in local currency so vendors don’t take advantage of your naivety by hiking up the price in American dollars just for you.

3.) Dining on a budget 
You haven’t experienced a city without trying the local eats, but you don’t have to blow your budget on pricey restaurants. Instead, get creative! Pick up some supplies at a local grocery, delighting in the strange food items on the shelves. Enjoy a light lunch at a street cafe for half the price of a dimly-lit restaurant. Or, make the rounds of the sidewalk vendors for a meal that will satisfy your craving for exotic cuisine without draining your wallet.

4.) Screen your car rental
 Before you book a car, ask yourself it it’s really necessary. If it is, search through discount booking sites like Priceline.com and Kayak.com. Next, find out if your auto insurance provider covers accidents while overseas. Lastly, review local traffic laws to make sure you drive safely and legally!

5.) Use cheap transportation 
If you aren’t booking a car, you’ll save even more by using the cheapest transportation available. Get the real feel of the city by walking to your destination. Hop on a bus or board a train to rub shoulders with the locals. And, be sure to check for any traveler’s discounts before purchasing tickets, as many hot-spots for tourists offer great deals for vacationers.

6.) Steer clear of the ‘only here’ mindset 
Don’t wind up broke! Create a detailed itinerary and a reasonable budget that includes all the things you want to do. Then, narrow it to just the attractions that are truly unique to your destination.

Working on putting together the funds for your dream getaway? Call, visit cfcu.org, or stop by a Community Financial branch today and ask how we can help. We’re here to turn that dream vacation into reality!

Your Turn: Just got back from a vacation abroad? Share your best money-saving tips with us in the comments!

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