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How to Save Money While Traveling the World

Authored by Anna Crowe 

Traveling abroad and seeing the world are items you can find on most people’s bucket lists, but so many people have a hard time crossing it off.

“I can’t get the time off work”;

“I have to wait until my kids are a little older”; and, the main reason:

“I just don’t have the money.”

To start, our first tip is that if you really have the urge to travel, make it happen. Get a financial planner, live extremely minimally in order to save maximally. Whatever you have to do, get determined to make it happen.

Then, once you’ve saved and requested your time off, go through these points of advice on how to save as much as possible while travelling so you’re not left in financial shambles afterwards.

Stay Fresh With Credit Cards

Don’t get stuck with the two words every penny-pinching traveler hates: transaction fees. With transaction fees running anywhere from 2 to 3 percent of each purchase, the money you’re literally throwing away adds up quick.

Do some pre-planning and sign up for credit cards with zero foreign transaction fees such as the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard, which also comes with travel accident insurance and fraud liability.

In addition to reducing fees and keeping your money safe, finding cards with perks is a key way to be budget savvy. For example, the Barclaycard offers 2.2 percent travel rewards on every dollar spent. In essence, you earn money for spending money when you travel. We’re not complaining.


Cash Flow

Having cash on hand will also save you from racking up ATM fees, but be smart with where you pull out the paper.

To get the best bang for your buck possible, open an account with a bank that waives foreign transaction fees on ATM withdrawals, such as Capital One. Then wait until you’re in the country you’re travelling in to withdraw your cash to get the best conversion rate. If you need to transfer money internationally make sure you research to find and compare the best companies matching your whereabouts and destination.

If you happen to have credit card debt, that doesn’t necessarily have to put a damper on your cashflow. You can take advantage of one of the many 0% interest balance transfer offers that credit card companies use to gain your business in order to temporarily put your interest payments on hold and stop your credit card balance from spiralling out of control while you travel.

Prep Your Bank

The last thing you need is to come home from your trip with a tight wallet and then see a late fee for something that could’ve been easily avoided.

Get your ducks in a row by setting up automatic bill payment for household charges, credit card bills, mortgage payments, etc.

Also, let your bank know you’ll be travelling ahead of time. This will keep your bank from shutting down your accounts when they see charges overseas.

Careful Budget Planning

Do some number crunching before your summer vacay so you don’t have to be fretting over money during your trip, or in the aftermath. Research and figure out how to get the best airline deals in addition to pre-booking your accommodations.

I booked “Pay & Save” deal in Orlando for a three-day girl’s getaway – it was well worth it! My antsy, anxiety-ridden habits calmed once the place was booked and settled. With careful budget planning you can find those cheap hotel deals.

Also, decide on which aspects of your trip mean the most to you: comfort, close proximity to sights, foodie-style meals, what have you. What are you willing to throw down the big $$$ for?

Create A Road Map

It’s 5:45 PM on a Friday and you’ve got the whole world at your fingertips; you could weekend to the Hamptons or fly to Disney, and everything in between! You may have your mind set on a certain location, but if you’re open to a budget-friendly travel season, check out Pinterest’s travel boards and apps, like Afar, for tips.

Afar on Pinterest.

Some of our favorite bang-for-your buck travel areas, where the most you’ll spend is on airfare, are Southeast Asia and South America; both places have exotic cultures plus great accommodations and food for cheap. Europe has its pricey locales, but backpacking through the continent is the best way to stretch out your money so you can see as much as possible in one trip. Use travel sites like Orbitz to scout best deals.

When you put all these tips to use you could easily save enough money to make a trip that you previously thought too expensive to be feasible, and you won’t be dead broke at the end of it all.

Not to mention, you may also find yourself with some spare change to splurge on your travels. “When in Rome,” right?

Meet Anna, the lady beyond Hello Oceanside blog and wannabe mermaid.

When Anna isn’t writing about unicorns and her love for breakfast pizza, she can be found touring local favorite hot spots one paw at time with Norman, the basset hound. Say hello on Twitter @annaleacrowe.


  1. Doesn’t really solve the problem if you are unemployed – I already live minimally, but I don’t have an income ;)

    • This specific post definitely is more aimed at those who have already saved to travel, though I do have a post with tips and methods for how you can build a blog to start generating an income online if that’s of interest for you :)

  2. Megan, great blog, but photograph of you taken on wrong street in LA, and you should be around the corner with your plaque firmly set into the sidewalk.

    • Lol give it some time and maybe we’ll see :D! Thanks Murray!

  3. Useful tips.
    Saving for trips is always my main goal. Travelling always gives me experiences that is worth the money!

    • Our main goal too :) And it’s helpful to know that you can keep saving while on the road :)

  4. I don’t know what it is with creditcards, I think they may be common in the US but here nobody uses them, I think you can’t even use them in most places. Which is good I guess :-) my fave way of saving money when traveling is not going out for dinner, too expensive and usually not even delicious!

    • They’re definitely common in the US – though that may be why everyone (including the government LOL!) is in debt!

      I agree – we can cook a much better and more delicious home cooked meal than we can usually get when we go out and pay triple the price!

  5. Great tips! I always over-budget (you never know)but if all goes well it works out great in the end to come home with more money than expected!

    • Over budgeting is always the best way to go – we try and do that too. As you said, worst case you come out with money to spare!

  6. Great tips! No international transaction fees on credit cards is the only way to go! Love the idea about searching for ideas on Pinterest–I should start using it as more of a planning tool!

    • It’s definitely a little harder when you’re outside of the States – I know that Australia has international transaction fees on pretty much all credit cards, but if you can avoid it, it’s definitely the way to go!

  7. Thinking of long trips makes me, sane. The way you carried out the trip is truly adorable. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Glad you enjoyed the article :)

  8. Nice tips! Budget planning is one I need to put some more effort into. I’m usually a traveler who tries my best to be frugal but at the same time will spend money on so many things based on the fact that “you only live once!” But then return home broke . . . :P

    • I do the same thing :D Even with these tips, I would probably still return home broke, but I’d just be spending the money which went to transactions fees etc on more awesome experiences :D

  9. Great tips here! I definitely agree with managing your credit cards to maximize your frequent flyer points or hotel points. I really need to get in the ‘credit-card hacking’ game to really take advantage of deals that are out there. Both Heather and I have the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit card which was a great deal when we opened them as we got the bonus 50k pts each but now I am thinking it’s starting to go a little stale as we have taken advantage of the companion pass in 2014 but after this year we may need to look at other alternatives out there.

    • I hadn’t heard about the Southwest Airlines Rewards so I might check that one out. We’re on the Marriott Rewards and the Chase Sapphire Plus which are both great cards as well.

      Definitely check into those if you haven’t already – some great sign up bonuses & hotel rewards :)

  10. Great post! Very true that anyone can make it happen with a little planning ahead! Great tips too about which cards and banks to member with!

    • Thanks Mary! Glad you enjoyed the post! We really try to take advantage of credit card and bank perks – may as well use them if they’re there!

  11. Love this post! Keep em coming!

    • Thanks Jay! Glad it was helpful for you :)

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