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Financial Tips

Money-saving vacation tips

It’s time to start planning your summer vacation, and we’ve put together a list of money-saving ideas to help make your trip more affordable! Even if you don’t need to pinch pennies, saving a few dollars here and there can enable you to splurge more on other priorities like a special dinner or a pricey souvenir.

 

Save money on your flight

  • Book your flights early for the lowest price—a good rule of thumb is to book two months in advance
  • Fly off season—most people travel over the summer when their kids are out of school, but if you don’t have kids try to plan your vacation around those crowded and pricier months
  • Fly on a weekday—it’s cheaper and the destinations are usually less crowded
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    Save money on food

  • Bring your own food to the airport—even the popular food chains increase prices at the gates
  • Eat at local cafes instead of hotels and popular restaurants—they’re less crowded and less expensive
  • Ask locals (not the concierge) where they eat for a more authentic and affordable experience
  • Buy snacks at local grocery stores, or stock up if you have a kitchenette
  • Bring a refillable water bottle (it’s more environmentally friendly, too!)
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    Save money on the experience

  • Consider hostels, Airbnb, apartments and bed-and-breakfasts instead of a hotel (use a booking portal and do some research to stay safe)
  • Book activities in advance so you can research to find the best deals (look for standing-room-only options and free admission days)
  • Travel to places where the U.S. dollar goes further—Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong, Zurich, and Tokyo rank among the most expensive destinations; while Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and Northern Thailand are among the most affordable
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    Save money with your credit card

  • Use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees (some cards charge up to 3% of the purchase amount)
  • Always pay in the country’s currency, not U.S. dollars (merchants generally charge a higher exchange fee than a bank)
  • Withdraw cash at the ATM in the local currency, not U.S. dollars
  • Take more than one card in case there are any issues so you won’t be stranded
  • Notify your card issuer that you’ll be traveling so they don’t block your card for suspicious activity
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    Stanford FCU debit and credit cards have no foreign transaction fees. Be sure to place a Travel Notice through Online Banking or the mobile app ( App Store | Google Play ) before you go. Happy travels!