Know How Much Things Cost

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

Know How Much Things Cost

You’re the most vulnerable when you enter a new country and aren’t yet familiar with how much certain items cost.  We got ripped off multiple times by not knowing prices, but we also saved a lot of money when we did do research beforehand.  As long as there are travelers who don’t know how much things cost, there will be people there to happily rip them off!

Although it’s not possible to research the price of every single thing on your trip, you might be surprised at how much information is actually available online.  From how much a driver should cost on a full day trip in Bali, Indonesia to how much you should pay for fake designer jeans in China, the internet is full of great information.  You don’t even need to do all of the research beforehand if you have internet in your hotel or other places while you’re traveling – just look it up as you go.

Avoid International ATM Fees!

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

Avoid International ATM Fees!

We encountered quite a few scams and rip-off artists around the world, but none of them got more money out of us than our own bank!  Sure, their fee was legal and they provided a reliable service, but we could’ve saved a lot of money if we would’ve done some research in advance and switched to a debit card that didn’t charge fees to avoid international ATM fees.

Instead, we took along our Chase ATM card as our primary cash source.  I did research to make sure they were accepted across the world, but I didn’t pay enough attention to how much we’d get charged to use it!  It turns out that Chase charged us $5 US for each ATM transaction – this was on top of the ATM fee charged by the local bank.  After nine months, 25 countries, and 60 ATM transactions, we ended up paying Chase $300 in international debit card fees!

How To Get Local Currency for Your Trip

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

One of our biggest concerns when planning our round the world trip was how to get local currency at the 20+ countries we’d visit.  Although you can get by in the United States and western Europe solely on credit cards, most of the world still works on cash and if you’ll be in a country for more than a few days, it’s usually worth it to get their currency.

The most popular ways to get local currency for your vacation are to exchange currency you brought from home or get cash out of the ATM.  There are a few other methods to get cash that I’ll discuss at the end of the post, but I don’t think they’re very good.

One caveat before we get into the “how” – make sure you research your destination a little bit instead of just hoping one of these methods work because in some countries such as Myanmar, they’re still working to get international ATMs!  Luckily we researched in advance so we had enough US currency to exchange with local money changers, but if we were going to solely depend on ATM’s we would’ve been in trouble.

How to Use Hotel Points

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

How to Use Hotel Points

I love hotel points.  During our trip around the world, we used hotel points for 43 nights which saved us between $6,000 – $8,000 USD!  This was huge for us as it not only saved money, but it also meant we got to stay at some nicer hotels along the way.

Using hotel points isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but it does take time and some strategy to earn enough points to get free hotel rooms.  At last check I had over 570 hotel nights just at Starwood hotels, so I’ll give you some of my tips for using hotel points!

When thinking about using hotel points, the first thing you need to do is learn about the different hotel chains.  Here’s a quick look at the major chains:

How to Find Hotel Alternatives

After traveling for work for ten years and a nine month trip around the world, I’ve collected some strategies for traveling cheaper. I’ll cover them in a ten part series in this order:

A. The flight
– How to Book the Cheapest Flight
– How to Use Free Flight Stopovers
– How to Find Alternatives to Expensive Flights
– Finding the Cheapest Airport Transportation
B. The Hotel / Accommodation
– How to Book Cheapest Hotel Rooms
– How to Find Hotel Alternatives
– How to Use Hotel Points
C. Arriving
– How to Get Local Currency for Your Trip
– Avoid International ATM Fees!
– Know How Much Things Cost

How to Find Hotel Alternatives

Hotels usually constitute the largest expense in a typical vacation so if you want to save money on your trip than that’s a good place to start.  For a long time, hotels have been the only way to go for your trip and the prices have seemed to inflate on hotel rooms to match that.

However, now there are many ways to find hotel alternatives to hotels that are great quality and perfectly safe when used correctly.  If the destination you’re visiting doesn’t offer quality hotel properties within your budget, check out some of the alternatives that could save you big bucks.

A.  TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor lets you search alternatives to hotels with their separate tabs for BnBs and Inns, Specialty Lodging, and Vacation Offers and they show reviews for the listed places.  We’ve used Tripadvisor for Bed and Breakfasts and Apartments quite a few times and have been happy with the outcome and unlike AirBnB, the BnBs listed on Tripadvisor actually serve you breakfast!