When it feels like day-to-day living costs are getting even more expensive, it can be hard to justify taking a vacation. Fortunately, there are still some tricks that work to score an affordable trip during pricey times, so you can jet away for some much needed relaxation without breaking your budget.
Let Flight Deals Decide Your Destination
If you don’t have your heart set on a specific destination, you can save a ton of money by letting flight deals influence where you travel to. You’ll be able to fly for even cheaper if you can be flexible on the dates you travel as well.
Google Explore is a great tool for finding amazing flight deals across the globe. You can put in your home airport and travel dates (which can be specific dates or as broad as a “one week trip in the next six months”) and you’ll see a map showing cheap flights to a wide range of destinations.
Explore Alternative Modes of Transportation
Flying may seem like the fastest way to travel between destinations, but when you factor in getting to and from the airport, waiting in security lines, and checking in, sometimes other modes of transportation can turn out to be quicker—and cheaper.
Before you book a flight to get to your next destination, check out Rome2rio. The site will show you all of the available options for transportation between two spots, including buses, ferries, flights, and driving. It’s especially useful if you’re looking to book a multi-destination trip.
Pick Destinations Where the Dollar Goes Further
It’s easy to spend less when you travel somewhere where the dollar goes further. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to see how pricey a destination is before you travel. Known as the Big Mac Index, this list ranks countries by how cheap a standardized item is to purchase. The list uses McDonald’s Big Mac, as it’s something that’s available in almost every country in the world.
Avoid Unnecessary Fees
Inflation is bad enough—don’t make your trip more expensive than it already is by paying foreign transaction fees. These are sneaky fees (of up to 5% of the purchase price) that many banks and credit card companies charge consumers for using their credit or debit cards abroad to pay in foreign currency.
There are plenty of options for cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees (or even ATM fees), so be sure to use one of those when you travel. You can find good lists of no foreign transaction fee credit and debit cards at NerdWallet.
Price Out the Whole Trip Before You Book
Find an amazing flight deal? Make sure you quickly check prices for your entire trip before you press “buy.” Any savings from the flight could be eaten up by the costs on the ground if you choose an expensive destination.
Price out the cost of a hotel, rental car (if needed) and average cost of meals to get a better idea of how much your trip will cost to be safe before you book anything non-refundable.
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