Need to save $ overseas? Here are some of my go-to websites and tips.
1. Know your location and what you want. First, you SHOULD make sure to experience the local cuisine–try new things! Otherwise, you’ll really be missing out. Here’s the catch… where??? That’s a tricky question without a clear-cut answer. In Italy, my travel buddy and I found out the best things to try in the Cinque Terre area were the Limoncello, focaccia bread, and a pasta dish know as salsa di noci. After some exploring, the drink was least expensive on the street, the focaccia bread at a local bakery, and the pasta dish? It was just expensive everywhere we went. In a different town in Italy we found pizza was only 1 euro per slice in grocery stores and 5-10 euros at a restaurant. Did they taste the same? Yes!
2. Grocery stores are your friend. In fact, one of your biggest money saving friends. Water, drinks, food–ALWAYS cheaper here. Want a fancy wine or your favorite chocolate to take home as a souvenir? Go here! In a location for a few days with a fridge? Get to the store to save on a few meals a day. You can also find all sorts of other things here for less than other places: sunglasses, local treats (such as wine, spices, pasta, etc), souvenir magnets, cold drinks (most drinks are served warm overseas), toiletries, feminine products, t-shirts, and well, you never know. Many countries have poor water you should not drink, and water is ALWAYS expensive out and about in busy areas. You will also find that in central or South America, buying the huge 3 liters of water is the best bang for your buck if you’re not traveling around for a few days.
Like stores in the states, bigger stores will have a variety of fresh made treats, sandwiches, meals, and sides ready to purchase and eat. Yogurt is also popular in many countries and an easy and inexpensive meal or snack.
3. Convenient stores such as 7-11 are not as inexpensive as a grocery store, but often have what you need or are good for an inexpensive meal. We ate here a lot in Copenhagen because the food was very expensive when we ate out.
4. Eating out. Use your resources. Consult the internet before you go. Some travel books offer honest and good suggestions. Use an app like Urbanspoon to find out what others are saying about the prices and food. I like to simply ask the locals where they go to eat out. They’re almost always spot-on with their recommendations! Also know the tipping rules. Many countries INCLUDE the tip in the bill.
|Enchiladas in Germany. A local suggested this restaurant and it was delish!|
1. I’m not a hostel fan, but have many friends who are. If you are, make sure to read a lot of reviews and know what you’re getting for your $$$.
2. Hotels. Same suggestion here. Just because it’s a hotel, doesn’t mean it’s going to be amazing. To save money, always book ahead, know the cancellation policy, and know the HOURS! One night we got to our hotel at 11:30 p.m. only to find out in Europe, only 4 star hotels have an attendant up front 24 hours a day like those in the states. We ended up walking the streets until we found a cab and took it to another town to find a place to stay. If you’re booking ahead, you might sign up for a website or hotel that offers free stays or rewards.
3. Airbnb.com. Definitely a favorite! Pros: find the price you need for your budget, meet friendly locals, stay where you want (near a landmark or in a quiet neighborhood), and many provide awesome amenities (laundry, wi-fi, towels). Most of the hosts are also VERY willing to give you directions, advice, tips on where to go/what to eat, and more. Cons: you have to establish a meeting time with most hosts. If your phone isn’t working well, it’s difficult to contact that person.
Want $40 off your first stay? Use my personal link here!!!
1. Buy early. Really. The sooner you get a ticket, the better. I use kayak.com and momondo.com to compare prices.
2. Buy direct. Sometimes it’s cheaper to purchase a ticket straight from the airline, not on another website such as priceline.com. Shop around.
3. Look overseas. Sometimes the non state-side airline will have better deals than the state-side airlines. You WILL want to make sure and use a credit card like Capital One that has no foreign transaction fees.
4. Get a airline rewards card. You probably won’t earn a free flight the first go around, but usually the bonus deals will be enough to get you one for your next state-side trip!
5. Get an ebates.com account. You can get some serious cash back by running your airline tickets through here first. Last summer I got around $50 back after I booked my airfare, car rentals, and hotels through ebates.com. The website explains how it works, and it’s super easy. (Bonus: I use if for all of my online shopping and have received hundreds of dollars back already!) They mail out a check to you every quarter, too.
Sign up here! https://www.ebates.com/r/BBALLA119?eeid=28187
TICKETS – TOURS AND TRAINS
|Sometimes you have to pay for the view. It’s usually worth it! Just fork out the money. You may never be in that place again in your life.|
1. Depending on the tour or place you are going to visit, know how to get tickets for less. Most places overseas offer the best prices straight through their websites. Train tickets are always the best price on the train company’s direct website or in the station. Rail Europe is popular with Americans, but I’ve always found it to be WAY overpriced and not worth using. You can get the tickets on your own for almost half the price.
2. Here’s another trip related to trains. Train tickets are NOT like airline tickets. Trains rarely “sell out” in other countries and you can buy them last minute at often the same price you could get them a month ago. Stations have very friendly staff, BUT…. make sure you know for sure it’s a staff member who is helping you for sure. There are many men and women who lurk around stations and will sell you outdated tickets or try to carry your bags on the train for a fee (or bags off because they’re stealing them!) Always be VERY firm and say no and keep walking away! Be aware of your surroundings.
3. Train workers often go on strike. The trains may or may not still run. My best friend and I ran into this issue in Italy. They’ll post a sign, not in English, and well, you’re on your own. Know the schedule and where you need to get. My uncle had to rent a van one year because of the Italian strikes.
4. Use tripadvisor.com to find the best tours and prices. Believe it or not, many companies and businesses use tripadvisor.com to boost their status and compete for awards that allow for them to in turn, get more business. You’ll often receive an email after a tour asking you to rate your experience.
5. Carry your AAA card, teacher ID, and student ID with you. You can almost always find a discount for being a AAA member or in the field of education. Many of these can be done beforehand via a website or email reservation. They usually won’t tell you or advertise these deals; you may have to ask. Europeans like to give 5-10% discounts or special tour rates to teachers and students! If you’re booking via email or on the phone, always be sure to ask.
6. Packages. Often, hotels will have tour packages that allow you to save $. Ask by emailing the place you’re staying.
7. Luggage. And… store your luggage for free at most hotels! Just ask. Some will charge a few dollars a day. This is a nice way to keep your luggage safe before or after checking in or out.
8. Arrangements. Along the same lines as luggage, you can often find that the front desk folks will help you with directions or tours in the same town/city. Just ask!