5 Ways to Save on International Travel This Summer – The Motley Fool

A traveler wearing a backpack and walking down a small street lined with shops and restaurants in Tokyo.

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Headed overseas? Here’s how to eke out some savings.

Key points

  • Many people are eager to travel overseas this summer.
  • Be selective with your destinations, airport, and ground transportation to make your trip more affordable.
  • You can save money by renting a private home and using the right credit cards.

International travel is something a lot of people put on hold during the pandemic. But at this point, you may be eager to explore an overseas destination. If so, the last thing you want is to come away from that trip loaded with debt. And with the right approach, you won’t have to. Here’s how to spend less when you’re traveling outside the U.S.

Some international hotspots are booming with tourists during the summer. Those are the ones you may want to avoid if you’re not looking to spend a fortune on travel. Find a European city to explore that’s off the beaten path, or choose a country to visit that’s not on most people’s radar.

2. Choose the right airport for your flight

You might snag a better deal on an international flight at a major airport or hub than by traveling out of a smaller airport and having to connect. It pays to price out your options and see what makes the most financial sense. If spending an extra $160 round-trip on a ride to the airport shaves $300 off the cost of your flight, it’s worth spending a little more time on the road.

3. Learn to navigate public transportation

If you’re visiting a city overseas that has a solid public transportation network, grab a map and familiarize yourself with it early on. Doing so could save you a lot of money compared to the cost of hailing a taxi every time you need to get somewhere.

4. Rent a private home

Lodging overseas can be costly, and in some cases, it can mean having to stay in cramped hotel quarters. A better bet may be to secure a short-term rental through sites like Airbnb. The upside of going this route isn’t just potentially saving money on your nightly rate. Having access to a functional kitchen could make it so you’re spending a lot less on food.

5. Use the right credit cards

Some credit cards offer money-saving perks that could make travel more affordable. This can include extra cash back on travel plans to discounts on in-flight purchases (something that might come in handy if you’ll be in the air for eight hours or more). If your credit cards don’t offer the best rewards, it pays to apply for a new card that does.

At the same time, aim to use a credit card during your travels that doesn’t impose a foreign transaction fee. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up throwing some money away.

One last tip

All of these moves could result in nice savings in the course of your international trip. But one expense you may want to spring for is travel insurance.

The rules regarding entry to foreign countries have the potential to evolve as the pandemic runs its course, and you may hit a snag or two in that regard. Having travel insurance could spare you from losses if your plans get upended, so it pays to look into different policies — even if that means adding to the cost of your trip.

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