8 Simple Ways to Save Money On Your Next International Trip

Are you planning on traveling internationally anytime soon? If so, this blog post will give you some really quick and easy money tips that you can use to save money on your next international trip.

At the time of writing this blog post, I have finished planning a 17 day international trip for me and my family (5 people total). We are headed to London, England, a few different cities in Italy and ending our trip in Dublin, Ireland.

While planning this trip, I have learned a few things that will definitely help you save money if you are about to plan an international trip for yourself. So, let’s get into it!

 

This post is all about 8 simple ways to save money on your next international trip.

save money on your next international trip - girl looking at map

 

1. Start saving money before your trip

International trips are naturally a little pricey so this one might be a no-brainer, but it’s definitely helpful to start saving cash in the months leading up to your trip. If you really want to be prepared, try saving up cash for up to a year before your trip date.

Having cash before your trip is helpful so that you don’t come home from your trip with debt, but it is also really helpful while planning your trip.

There are so many pre-trip expenses that you will have to pay for before you even get on your flight. This can include things like hotels, flights, trains, day trips, private transfers (i.e. drivers to and from the airports), tickets to tourist activities, etc.

If you don’t have any cash to pay for these things while you are in the planning phase of your trip, you will have to use a credit card. That’s fine and all, but credit cards are a slippery slope if you don’t have the cash to pay it off when the bill is due.

So, make sure you save some cash well before your trip. And if you really want to be prepared, save a bunch of cash months before you start planning your trip.

 

2. Place travel notices on the debit/credit cards that you’ll be using

Before you travel, you’ll want to notify your banks that you will be travelling so that there are no issues with your cards while you are abroad. This is typically called placing a “travel notice” on your cards.

If you don’t place travel notices on your cards, when you go to use your cards in a different country, your bank might think that some sort of fraud is happening on your accounts, and they will shut down your cards. If this happens, you won’t have any money to use!

To institute a travel notice you can either call your bank, or with some banks, you can do it through your bank’s app on your phone. If you call your bank, it usually takes just a few minutes. Simply call their customer service number and let them know that you’d like to “place a travel notice” on your card(s).

As you do this, your bank will likely ask you what cities or countries you’ll be traveling to and on what dates – this way, they know exactly where you’ll be so that when they see that you are using your card in those places, they won’t be suspicious. And more importantly, you’ll be able to use your cards and have access to your money!

 

travel agency

 

3. Look up promotion codes/discount codes before making purchases online

If you’ll be buying tickets for touristy things in advance, it’s beneficial for you to look up promotion or discount codes before you check out. 

You might be surprised that there are promo codes online even for things that you’ll buy in other countries. 

For example, we bought the London Pass for the portion of our trip in London, and I simply googled “London Pass promo codes” and a promo code popped up! I am SO GLAD I did this because it saved my family somewhere around 15%-20% off our total purchase – all because I acted on the thought that there might be some promo codes out there.

If you’re going to buy tickets for tours or venues in advance of your trip, definitely look up promo codes before making your purchase to see if you can save any money.

 

4. Hire a travel agency to help with planning

I wrote a whole blog post on why hiring a travel agency is beneficial, but this is something that I am SO glad I did in advance of our trip.

I hired a local-to-me travel agency and honestly, I know I couldn’t have planned our trip out as well as they have. This was seriously one of the best decisions I have made in a long time.

For one, travel agencies often have partnerships with hotels in different places so that if you book with a hotel that they have a partnership with, they might be able to get you a discount.

Also, I’m not sure if this was just in my experience, but the travel agency that we used was very affordable in my opinion. To plan this trip, we worked with Avondale Travel Agency and their fee was a flat rate of $75 per person on the trip, no matter how long your trip is.

They helped us plan private transfers (e.g. scheduled car services to take us from our hotel to the airport), as well as day trips, train rides, and all of our hotels. With that said, they also saved me so much time and stress when it came to planning. 

 

girl walking with suitcase at airport

 

5. Order free Covid-19 tests on USPS.com

If you are located within the United States, you can order free Covid-19 tests right now through the United States Postal Service website

At the time of writing this blog post (June 2022), Americans no longer have to test negative for Covid-19 before returning to the United States. However, I am going to bring a few of these free Covid-19 tests with me on our travels just in case we need them to determine if we are sick at any point (hopefully we do not).

If you live in the United States, all you have to do is enter your address and the Covid-19 tests will be shipped to you within a few weeks.

 

6. Make sure your debit/credit cards don’t have foreign transaction fees

Foreign transaction fees are just that – fees that you are charged if you use your debit or credit card for a transaction in a foreign place. And these fees can be hefty!

Basically, you want to ensure that whatever debit or credit cards you plan to use internationally do NOT have foreign transaction fees. If you are not sure if your card(s) have foreign transaction fees, call your bank. It is worth knowing this information.

I actually made this mistake before our trip. I was buying the London Pass that I referenced earlier, and because I bought it on an English website, and the card I used had foreign transaction fees, I was charged a foreign transaction fee just for using the card online!

So you don’t actually have to be in a foreign country to be charged a foreign transaction fee. If you are using your card on a website that is affiliated with another country, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee!

Be careful and make sure that the cards you are bringing on your trip, or using to buy tickets for things before your trip, do not charge foreign transaction fees. Leave any cards that do charge foreign transaction fees at home, or bring them along in case of an emergency. But try not to use them for every transaction you make in other countries.

 

girl walking with suitcase at airport

 

7. Use a card that gets miles or cash back

If you’re going to be spending a lot of money in preparation for your travels, you should be using a credit card that is giving you something in return. 

There are plenty of credit cards out there that offer rewards programs so that when you use your card to buy things, you can get cash back or airline miles in return.

This is a great way to rack up some extra airline miles for your next trip while on your current one. 

 

8. Buy travel insurance in advance of your trip 

Something we decided on last minute was the purchase of travel insurance. I normally forgo travel insurance, but because our trip is long and there are so many moving parts, we have decided to get it.

Our travel agent is going to help us purchase travel insurance, but basically the main reason we have decided to get it is just in case any one gets sick while we are abroad. If that does happen, our travel insurance will cover our trips to any doctors. Likewise, if any one is to get hurt on the trip and require surgery, the travel insurance will cover that up to a certain amount as well.

Travel insurance is one of those things that you don’t really want to buy, but you’ll be thankful you did if you end up needing it on your trip because it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

 

This post is all about 8 simple ways to save money on your next international trip.


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A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women. Read more about Taylor here.

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