How to save money while on your next family vacation overseas


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By Mariane Felix

There are few things more exciting than a vacation overseas – whether you’re heading south and visiting America, Mexico, or a Caribbean island, or jetting across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans for destinations like Europe, Africa, Asia, or Australasia.

Saving up for flights can be tricky, especially when there are bills to pay at home and families to feed, while accommodation can also set you back, particularly if you’re traveling as a large group with individual needs.

In this guide, we will discuss the best ways to keep costs down after your major bookings have been made.

Currency exchange

The advice here centers around what not to do – and we strongly advise you not to wait until you get to the airport to exchange your money. Converting money should be one of the first jobs you do once you have set a spending budget.

Shop around for the best prices and take time to study the exchange rate’s recent trends – is the value of the local currency increasing or decreasing? By spending a little time thinking about this aspect you can ensure that your money goes further.

You should also consider the rules around using your credit card overseas. Most major banks should be able to advise you on any fees that apply when using your card overseas, while you may also consider opening an account with a bank that offers preferential rates to travelers.

Eating and drinking

One of the best things about going on holiday is enjoying local cuisine in some of your destination’s nicest restaurants. But, while it’s certainly important that you make the most of this, you can still save money in other areas.

Consider your options for your other meals, such as breakfast and lunch. You may be able to find a local supermarket that is cheaper than your accommodation’s kitchen, and which allows you to stock up on drinks, and snacking essentials like fruit or potato chips.

This will also save you from paying over the odds for food and drink in tourist areas, plus it’ll help you save room for your evening meal!

Downtime = playtime

You’ll naturally want to see as much as you can while you’re on vacation, but you can also make the fun go further by making the most of your downtime at the hotel – whether that’s first thing in the morning while you wait for your travel companions to wake up or before you head off to sleep.

We don’t recommend spending your vacation glued to a screen, but you may consider investing in a light laptop or tablet to make the most of the time in your apartment or hotel room. Most modern accommodation offers wifi as standard, so there’s plenty to distract you while you relax.

Consider kicking back online while you wait for your next adventure. Most streaming services, like Netflix, are available abroad, while you can also enjoy a little gaming, including casino classics like roulette, blackjack, and poker on sites like Bonus.ca. This is also a great way to keep a handle on spending, especially as many casino websites offer bonuses to new players, enabling you to maximize the playtime.

Shopping

Whether it’s right or wrong, you can naturally expect to pay over the odds for food, drink, and souvenirs in the most popular tourist areas, but you can always keep your hands in your pockets. Consider if that tacky refrigerator magnet is really worth it, or if you’ll wear that bright yellow t-shirt when you get home.

But if you are ready to make a purchase, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed by pushing your luck for the best price. In many countries, bartering the cost of an item is commonplace and many shopkeepers in Northern Africa and Central Asia expect there to be some give and take around what the item is sold for.

In fact, it’s becoming more and more commonplace across many industries for customers to expect to pay lower than full price.

Hopefully, these tips can come in useful for when you’re heading out on your next vacation. But perhaps the most important piece of advice is to set a budget for the total trip and stick to it. Travelling with friends and family can be magical in itself, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to break the bank just to have a good time.

Story first appeared at torontocaribbean.com

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