Six Strategies to Cut Costs on International Travel This Year

David Bakke writes about smart shopping, travel, and money management on the blog, Money Crashers Personal Finance.

Whether you're a seasoned international traveler or are taking your first trip abroad, it can be quite easy to let the costs spiral out of control. And if you're on a tight personal budget, you may feel discouraged from ever planning a trip at all. However, international travel, even though more expensive than domestic travel, doesn't have to cost a fortune.

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Here are six way to reduce expenses when traveling to another country:

1. Consider a Consolidator Ticket
A consolidator ticket is a ticket sold at a reduced price that is not released to the public, and you usually have to go through a travel agent to get one. There are typically restrictions involved - often, you can't choose your seat in advance, and you might not get credit on your frequent flyer program. However, if you're okay with that, it's a great way to save on your international fare.

2. Look at Nontraditional Lodging Options
Hotel rooms in many of the popular international travel destinations are quite pricey, so your best bet is to investigate other options. For instance, you may want to consider staying at a hostel. Hostels generally offer dormitory-style accommodations and usually feature shared kitchens, living areas, and bathrooms. If you need more private amenities, consider renting an apartment or flat during your stay. Depending on the length of your stay, you may find apartments for rent for half the cost of a hotel room, and the owner may be able to offer suggestions for great restaurants and entertainment hotspots.

3. Cook at Home
Regardless of where you stay, choose a place that has kitchen amenities. That way, you can get a glimpse of the local flavor of the city you're visiting by shopping for groceries, and save money instead of eating all of your meals at expensive restaurants.

4. Get to Know the Locals
While this can be a challenge if you don't speak the language, you may be able to save lots of money by engaging in conversations with the locals. If the place you're visiting is particularly popular, many people will have at least a rudimentary understanding of the English language. Local citizens can suggest the best places to eat, inexpensive transportation options, out-of-the-way tourist attractions, and more.

5. Shop Prudently for Souvenirs
The first time I traveled internationally, I purchased far too many souvenirs. In fact, I ended up with so many souvenirs that I had a hard time getting them on the plane, and it took a huge chunk out of my checking account. Do yourself a favor and buy souvenirs at the end of your trip. Keep some ideas in mind throughout your trip, and make your decision shortly before the vacation ends. This eliminates the possibility of making too many impulse purchases.

Final Thoughts
When traveling overseas, always keep personal safety in mind. This may not save you money, but it can prevent a lot of headaches. Travel with two photocopies of your passport located in separate areas, and write down the numbers and customer service contact information for all the credit cards you take abroad. The last thing you want is to have a lost passport or stolen credit card ruin your trip.

What other ways can you suggest to save money on international travel?

For more tips on saving money, visit Money Crashers.com.

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