Cheap Overseas Travel Tips

cheap overseas travelTraveling overseas is always an appealing option, but if you don't arm yourself with these cheap overseas travel tips, you'll be in trouble. Who can say no to the opportunity to experience new cultures, see world wonders, and meet people from around the world? It's also a great way to introduce your kids to an international way of life, something that's increasingly more important in this age of globalization. With so many pros, though, there's still that one unmistakable con: cost.

Never fear, though – with enough careful planning and cost-cutting measures, you can shave off dollars and take an affordable overseas vacation with the whole family. You may have to make some sacrifices and rethink the way you approach the idea of a vacation, but in the end you'll still wind up with the adventure of a lifetime and the memories to match. And who knows? Your atypical, inexpensive vacation may take you far enough off the beaten path that you get to have a better experience than any ordinary tourist, and you may never look back.

The following cheap travel tips include everything from choosing a destination to converting money.

Pick cheaper countries.

Sure, it's tempting to go to the most popular tourist destinations, but just how much do those cost? If you're watching your funds, and even if you're not, pay attention to the exchange rate and let it help you figure out where the best deal for your family vacation will be. Do a little research and find a country where your dollar will stretch the farthest. These destinations are frequently (though not always) less popular locations that will probably be a little less touristy, which is both good and bad. A vacation apartment in Estonia or beach villa in Kenya may be the way to go. If you go someplace that hasn't yet adopted the Euro, you won't have to worry about the dollar to Euro conversion (which as of this article is not in your favor!).

Go it alone, instead of choosing expensive packages or paid tours.

Rather than relying on all-inclusive packages (which will probably cost you more for things you won't need) or turning to expensive paid tours, make your own reservations and pick your own transportation. This means staying in vacation rentals instead of fancy hotels or resorts, as well as renting a car or taking the bus yourselves instead of riding in a taxi or with a tour bus group. Buy city guides, choose your own sightseeing locations, and do your own research instead of paying someone. Plus, many locals are more than happy to provide you with information about the area and even its history, if you're polite when you ask. This tactic is best if you have older kids who won't be overwhelmed and who will enjoy researching themselves, too.

Travel in the off season.

Obviously, if you go when not many tourists want to go, you'll have less competition for airfare, lodging, and attractions. This means lower costs for you, because vendors will want to get your dollars to help them through the down season, and it also means fewer crowds. Unfortunately, the off season is often the off season for a reason. You might be flying into dismal weather or visiting attractions that shut down early because of shorter daylight hours. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into and that it's still something you and your family will enjoy. If cold weather doesn't bother you, or you'd love to stroll the streets of Paris with the city lit up at night, then go for it!

Get the best currency conversion rates, not the most convenient.

Don't change your money at the hotel. Find a better location for more favorable rates (frequently the best is to use an ATM if your bank has overseas branches).

Find inexpensive plane tickets.

It may be tempting to fly into one country and fly out from another, especially if you want to take a tour of Europe, but that sort of open-ended ticket tends to run you more money. You'll be better off arriving in and leaving from the same airport. If you're coordinating around an entire family's schedule, chances are you can't be too flexible with your flight times (since you've got to make sure the kids are on vacation and adults can take vacation days). If you do have some flexibility, though, try to fly on less popular days of the week, and be willing to shop around for the best week to travel. Also, keep in mind that one way flights are - suprisingly - sometimes a better deal than a round-trip set.

Plan a daily budget, including lodging, transportation, food, and extra expenses.

international currency overseas travelDo enough research to make sure you have a realistic budget in mind, then stick to it. Without this plan, you're a lot more likely to make impulse buys and splurge on meals. With a plan, you can watch your expenses and won't wind up shocked when the price tags add up at the end of the trip. Don't forget to pad your budget a little to cover emergencies so you're not caught off guard if you have to run one of the kids to a local doctor or your luggage gets lost and you have to replace essentials.

Pack lightly.

Overseas flights in particular will charge you for heavy bags. Don't pack as much clothing, and plan to do your laundry onsite in a homey vacation rental (Paris rental condos and Costa Rica villas may or may not have laundry facilities, so ask ahead!). Save that suitcase space for souvenirs and that suitcase poundage for essentials – or your wallet. Only bring what you're absolutely sure you'll need, like travel size toiletries and a minimum number of clothes.

Don't eat at expensive restaurants.

Eat where the locals eat, rather than splurging on fancy restaurants or places that cater to tourists. Bring a translation dictionary or brush up on local cuisine so you know what you're ordering at local places. Be careful about eating street food, though, especially with kids. Know whether the water and fruit where you're staying are safe to consume.

Don't buy souvenirs – or, if you do, buy very few and go cheap.

Souvenirs from souvenir shops are just more clutter for your friends and family, so spare them the space and yourself the cash and opt against kitschy reminders. You can always turn your photos into postcards when you get home if you'd like to give friends and family a piece of your trip. Photos and memories are free!

Stay in vacation rentals.

Even in developing countries, you'll find that hotels add extra charges to everything, whether you're making a local phone call, using the gym, or parking in the lot. These extras can up the cost of hotel rooms more than you might realize when you start planning your vacation. Avoid unexpected fees by renting a vacation rental, where you'll know ahead of time exactly how much your lodging will cost you. Vacation rentals also often include kitchenettes or full kitchens, so you can cook your own food (much cheaper than eating out!) while sampling local produce. Save money and space by renting a vacation home instead of a number of hotel rooms and we promise you won't regret it.

We hope our cheap overseas travel tips have helped you plan the ultimate getaway!

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