10 Tips to Reduce International Travel Expenses

Once in a while, we travel to other parts of the world. It’s a great pleasure for us since, besides being able to get away from work and other responsibilities, we’re able to learn so many things about other people’s cultures, traditions, and lifestyle.

But then again, traveling without money is completely futile and dangerous, right? It definitely pays to be wise. If you’re planning to travel abroad, you may want to remind yourself of the following tips:

1. Be absolutely prepared

Sometimes it’s fun to be spontaneous, but do it if you already have a LOT of money in your bank account. Otherwise, you have to properly plan the trip. Here are some of the things you have to prepare for:

• Accommodation
• Cost of travel (including within the country, such as buses, trains, etc.)
• Food
• Destinations
• Length of the trip
• People going with you

It is always advisable to create a travel plan, and make sure that you begin at least 6 months to a year. The earlier you book you flight, more discount you’ll receive. There are other ways to get cheap flight tickets.

Do not lose your passport, visa, identity card and other travel records. Always lock them away in your hotel room or the place you are staying in.

2. Always have a buffer

Plans are plans. They may come true or not. There are also times when they direct you to a completely new path, a road that you’re unfamiliar with. If you aren’t cautious or forward-thinking, you may find this new path hard to tackle.

When you travel, always have a buffer, a reservation, a plan B to D—whatever you may want to call it. For instance, you can have at least two cards with you, one debit and the other credit. Increase your pocket money to at least 10 percent, but only use the money when it’s absolutely necessary.

3. Carry cash and credit card

I’ve come across some people who say, “I don’t really need cash when I travel. I have some plastics.” I don’t reduce the significance of credit cards when traveling. After all, usually, you’re only allowed to bring a specific amount of cash when you enter the country unless you want to spend a good amount of time in jail or immigration office.

But please don’t abuse your plastics. Keep in mind that there are transaction fees, and normally you end up paying more when you come back to the United States because of currency conversion.

If you truly want to be wise with credit cards, you can consider getting credit cards that doesn’t charge you with foreign transaction fees.

4. Go for off-peak season

Unless you’re visiting the country to experience its festivals or specific holidays, it’s best if you schedule the trip during off-peak season.

Almost always, flights, accommodation, and even other products and services such as food are available at discounted prices.

How much?

They can go as low as 50 percent. No kidding. This is because they need to attract visitors all year round, even at times when nothing much is happening really.

5. Know where and when to have your money exchanged

It’s best to have your money exchanged once you’re already in the country. It’s a lot cheaper.

It is also less expensive for you to do so at exchange centers not found within shopping malls, tourist spots, hotels, and airports.

6. Consider more unique souvenirs

Some people simply travel for experience. They don’t really mind taking home something with them. But I prefer doing so, and most definitely, there are plenty of others who share the same sentiment with me: it’s great to “preserve” these beautiful memories.

However, there’s no need to spend hundreds to even thousands of dollars just to have these souvenirs. I have some friends who’d simply take home some stones or sand, place them in mason jars, and label them with their origin, as well as the date of the trip. They’re simple, more sentimental, and, of course, incredibly cheap.

7. Use public transport when possible

Surely, taxicabs and rental cars are the most convenient means of travel. Yet they are extremely costly, especially the latter. You have to pay not only for gas but sometimes also for its rental insurance. If you can, be one of the locals.

Ride trains, buses, or their own type of carriage. Walk whenever and wherever possible, Walking is the best travel advice I ever received.

8. Get an international calling card

american cellular companies have very high charge rate for overseas calling. get a calling card, if possible, before you travel get yourself a card. trust me, you;ll save tons of money.

Also equally important it is to carry international travel adapter for your electronic devices, such as computer, camera, phone charger, etc. 98% of international travelers do not keep this in mind!

Get your cell phone carrier temporarily suspend your calling plan if you are not planning to use your cell phone while travelling. Don’t forget your home phone, if  no one is staying back.

9. Ask for tips from other people

Part of our planning process is to read blogs and discussion boards of the places we’re eyeing to. We browse through reviews to give us a good idea where to go, what to do, and what to avoid so we can have the best overseas experience.

We often ask local people for help. Its normal that you’ll need directions, tips, help from other people. Instead of wasting money on things, tours that are not worth it, follow the locals and listen to their opinion on their own country.

When it comes to accepting offerings from local people, I usually stay away, especially food items. Unless I am with a trusted person, I don’t generally eat food offered to me. You may have other opinion, but I would say– be careful when you are in a foreign land.

10. Have overseas health insurance

They are generally cheaper to get for the duration of your travel. It may seem a waste of money for you. But, there is no harm in being prepared to save thousands of dollars in case illness occurs during your travel.

Other insurances like, travel, baggage etc may well be covered under your credit card, provided you buy your tickets using that card.

Have you traveled to other countries? What other tips you want to share with others.

Join our community of 5000+ subscribers to increase your net worth and build wealth
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
The tool that changed the way I manage my personal finance - Personal Capital, The Best Free Personal Finance Tool

Want to start a WordPress blog now? The onecentatatime.com blog is hosted by Bluehost Web Hosting. For only $3.49 a month, Bluehost can help you set up and host your website/blog quickly and easily.


  1. says

    I know NYC isn’t really international, but we decided we would book our ticket to come home on Sept 11. The ticket was a couple hundred dollars cheaper!

  2. 1KcDesi says

    Hello SB

    Good tips.

    You may also consider vaccinations / tablets to consume while you are in a foreign country to reduce your health risk. e.g. It is recommended to take Malarial tablets while visiting certain parts of India.


    • says

      It would not be wasteful to consult family practitioner and get advice and emergency medication along with you, good advice

  3. says

    In addition to your tips, I use my ATM card for cash. If you find your bank’s correspondent bank overseas there are no fees. You get the best exchange rate too.

  4. says

    I went to Africa this summer on a mission trip, and some of the members on my trip learned the hard way that if you aren’t careful with your stuff, stolen possessions will be the most expensive part of your trip. Wear a money belt, use the hotel safe, etc, it’ll pay off big time.

    • says

      Excellent advice. Keep your money safe. best way is to use credit cards and get your foreign transactions pre approved

  5. says

    We learned to use grocery stores for snacks and light meals. We ate some meals in restaurants and some from our purchases. It’s fun to shop in the food stores too. Some bread, cheese, wine, and fruit comes in handy!

  6. says

    Having cash is a very good tip because you could find some places where they don’t accept credit cards. Also, try eating where the locals eat for a cheap meal and authentic tastes (usually quite delicious).

  7. Julie @ Freedom 48 says

    Some great tips!

    I try to use my credit card anywhere I can – it’s so much safer than carrying a wad of cash. However, there will always be instances were you need to have cash.

    Another good tip is to haggle and negotiate. Most places will recognize a “tourist” and jack their prices up because of that. There’s always room for negotiation, and you can often get 50% or 75% off!

    • says

      This is awesome one Julie! I know in my country even the official admission price is higher for foreigners, ;et alone the shopkeepers. If you don’t bargain, you will pay hefty price.

  8. says

    Off peak traveling can result in massive savings. Airfare – and accomodations, if you aren’t visiting someone – will typically be a signficant percentage of the total trip expenses.

  9. Early FI says

    I definitely second the offseason choice. I can’t remember the last time I went to Europe in the summer or the Caribbean in the winter. The major benefit from going offseason is not just money but total lack of crowds. It’s so nice to walk the streets of Paris without waves of Americans in fanny packs. You actually seem to get a feel for how the locals live their lives.

    • says

      With a few notable exceptions though. You may not want to visit Russia in the winter or African safari in the summer

  10. Dannielle B says

    Great tips – I believe in making a plan A and back up plans if necessary. It really helps to start planning early too.

  11. says

    Planning your meals and cooking for yourself are also great ways of lessening travel expenses. Buying stuff to the grocery stores and supermarkets and being with the locals and seeing how they live their lives.. I say is a great experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *