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34 Ways to Save Money and Time When Traveling Internationally

Flexibility and a sense of adventure also help. You can save a bundle skipping out on trends and ideal weather. But you also need to travel smart. Price all available travel methods to and at your destination, including rail, bus, and biking. There are lots of exciting ways to hack airfare too. 

Ultimately, it’s about considering all available options — and getting a little creative. 

International travel can be expensive — really expensive. Fortunately, no matter your budget, you can take advantage of a slew of opportunities to save money when traveling abroad. 

These money-saving travel tips apply whether you’re taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a faraway honeymoon destination or simply jetting down to the Caribbean for an extended weekend.

Ways to Save Money and Time When Traveling Internationally

Travel is a particular passion of mine, and I’ve managed to compile a decent amount of international travel experience. Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about saving money on longer, out-of-country trips. These are the most profitable for budget-conscious journeyers.

1. Start a Travel Fund

Since travel is a luxury, saving for it must come after emergency savings and retirement savings. Once you’ve accounted for those two buckets, you can focus on your travel fund, which can certainly be your top nonessential savings goal.

Segregate your travel fund in a separate high-yield savings account. Add to it early and often. If you save more than you need for a single trip, you just have a head start on saving for your next trip. 

Once you’ve done some rough planning and have a reasonable estimate of the likely cost of your next vacation, you can adjust your monthly savings rate to meet your target dates and budget.

2. Get a Bank Account or Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Your bank or credit card issuer might be one of the biggest culprits for vacation nickel-and-diming thanks to annoying foreign transaction fees that can add 2% or 3% to the cost of each transaction.

If your bank or credit union charges foreign transaction fees, switch to a competitor that doesn’t. 

Alternatively, at least a month before you leave on your trip, apply for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. They’re increasingly plentiful. As long as you don’t have any significant credit issues, you should find one you qualify for.

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card is an excellent place to start if you’re still on your credit-building journey. Or if you have excellent credit, apply for a higher-end travel rewards credit card, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi Prestige.

3. Choose Your Time or Place, Not Both

When cost control is paramount, it pays to be flexible. If your heart’s set on a particular destination, consider a range of different start and end dates. This kind of flexibility doesn’t require leaving vast chunks of your calendar open or sacrificing your dream vacation. 

Minor scheduling tweaks can have a major impact. For instance, savvy international travelers avoid Latin American countries during Semana Santa (the holy week before Easter) because many locals hit the road during that time. 

Scheduling your trip a week before or after your original date may be all you need to do to avoid peak crowds and higher costs.

If you must travel within a fixed time frame, be opportunistic about your destination. For example, if you have to travel in March and you’re set on a tropical destination, find a place where March is the rainy season, when lodging prices tend to be lower. It’s always the rainy season somewhere. 

4. Favor Off-Seasons

If your schedule is flexible, travel when it’s not as busy in your preferred destination. Off-seasons vary by destination but often coincide with colder or rainier periods. 

For instance, many urban destinations in Europe (including London, Paris, and Zurich) are packed during the summer and winter holiday seasons. They’re much slower in spring and fall, when the weather is less predictable and there aren’t any major holidays. 

In tropical locales, the off-season often coincides with the wet season. It’s usually one to two stretches of three to four months per year, depending on the destination.

Because demand is lower, big-ticket travel expenses like airfare and lodging are more reasonably priced during the off-seasons. If you’re planning a last-minute trip, you may also have an easier time finding higher-end lodging, such as all-inclusive resorts, without going over budget.

5. Avoid Trendy Tourist Destinations

If you don’t like crowds or waiting in line, avoid newly “discovered” destinations.

I learned this lesson firsthand in 2016 when I visited Portugal for the second time. My first visit, in late 2007, happened amid a deepening global recession and a period of unprecedented strength for the euro — 1 euro bought approximately $1.60 during my trip. 

Unsurprisingly, I encountered few non-European tourists in Lisbon, and the crowds were quite manageable.

Fast-forward nearly a decade to a recovering economy and a weak euro (roughly 1 euro to $1.05 or $1.10). Lisbon was packed to the gills with North American, Asian, and Middle Eastern tourists. 

My second experience in Portugal felt a lot more commodified than the first trip, before Portugal was as trendy with non-European tourists.

6. Buy Travel Insurance

Purchasing travel insurance means spending money upfront on something you may not (and hopefully won’t) need. Still, if you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason or your trip is interrupted for reasons beyond your control, it can pay off many times over.

You can expect your one-time travel insurance premium to run up to 10% of your total trip cost when you buy it directly from a travel insurance provider like Allianz or Generali Global Assistance. It may cost a bit more through a travel agency.

You can also buy travel insurance through your transportation carrier, such as an airline or cruise line. In that case, your premium is likely to be lower. But it may only cover the carrier’s portion of your trip. For example, it won’t cover the hotel.

Higher-end travel credit card benefits may also include complimentary trip cancellation or interruption protection. They usually only cover up to a predefined limit, often as high as $5,000 to $10,000.

But read the fine print on your card’s benefits statement to ensure it’s enough protection. If so, you can avoid paying potentially hundreds of dollars in travel insurance premiums. Most cards like that charge annual fees, but they can be worth it if you travel at least once per year.

You can use the same trick for rental cars. Many credit cards offer complimentary loss and damage coverage on vehicles rented with the card. That means you don’t need the car company’s add-on insurance policy.

7. Seek Out Travel Deals

It’s not hard to find travel deals online, from cheap flights to cut-rate hotel rooms. You just have to know where to look.

  • Travel Websites. Deal-hunting travel websites abound. The Flight Deal and CruiseSheet are the gold standards for their categories. Bookmark them or sign up for their email newsletter and let the offers come to you.
  • Social Media. Build a list of social media accounts that post limited-time airline, hotel, and package deals. Many have their own websites as well. Twitter’s @airfarewatchdog is a good example. If you’re a visual deal-seeker, look for Pinterest accounts.
  • Deal Apps and Social Coupons. Check deal apps like Skyscanner, Hopper, and HotelTonight regularly. In the social coupon department, Groupon is ever-dominant. But also check LivingSocial
  • Booking Search Engines. Even if you don’t book with them, travel search engines like Kayak, Priceline,, and Trivago can give you a sense of what’s out there. Use as many as you can. There’s no such thing as too much research.

8. Use the ‘Hidden City’ Strategy

Travel search engines are great for getting a broad view of the available deals. But don’t take their word for it.

Before you book, try the “hidden city” strategy. Rather than book a direct flight to your destination, you can look for places that have a layover in the city you’re traveling to. If that flight is cheaper, you book it and just skip any flights you don’t need.

For instance, say you’re trying to fly from Chicago to Rome, Italy, as cheaply as possible. A host of factors could make it cheaper to book a flight from Chicago to Nice, France, with a layover in Rome. Then, you simply skip out on the Rome-Nice leg. 

9. Opt for Extended Layovers

If your trip dates and destinations are flexible, you can build all or part of your trip out of a series of extended layovers (or stopovers).

Even if you could reach your destination by nonstop flight, it’s sometimes cheaper to purchase three one-way flights rather than one round-trip flight. So you can turn your single-destination vacation into a two-destination vacation — and save money at the same time.

There are many opportunities to fly direct very cheaply from North America to less in-demand European cities like Dublin and Lisbon. You can score fantastic rates on discount airlines like Ireland’s Aer Lingus or Portugal’s TAP

That’s your entry point to Europe, and from there, it’s super-cheap to fly within the continent. You can get wherever you really want to go, even to Paris or London, for less than a direct flight between that destination and your origin city. 

I’ve personally used this tip, and the amount I saved was shocking. I still came out ahead after three nights in the stopover city.

Start by identifying each city or region you want to visit. Then, figure out how long you’ll stay in each city, and find the cheapest flight from place to place. If the destinations are close enough to each other, such as two European cities, you can look at rail fares too.

Book a one-way from your origin to your first destination and another one-way from your last destination back to your origin. Then, build your in-between itinerary however you see fit: short one-way or round-trip flights, train fares, or car rentals. 

10. Compare Air vs. Rail When Traveling Between Cities

If your itinerary is structured as a tour with multiple urban destinations, do a cost-benefit analysis of your intercity travel options.

In most parts of the world, air and rail are the two fastest transportation options. Air is obviously faster, but the benefit narrows when destinations are relatively close together, as getting through the airport takes longer and presents more logistical hurdles (and opportunities for delay).

Rail is often cheaper, though not always. Budget airlines, such as easyJet and Ryanair, have revolutionized intercity travel in Europe by competing with rail carriers on price. That said, very short-distance trips (say, less than 100 miles) may not have air options at all.

If you’re willing to spend more to reduce travel time, air makes sense for most trips longer than 100 to 200 miles. But if price is paramount, rail is often the way to go, but check discount airlines too.

11. Buy a Guidebook

You always have to begin researching your getaway on the Internet. But don’t rely entirely on free online sources for your planning. Even the most reputable travel blogs can have erroneous or contradictory information. And all have limited resources, so they have to make tough decisions about what to include and what to pass over.

Established travel guide publishers don’t have unlimited resources, but they do have the money to pay research teams and local experts. Purchase an up-to-date guidebook for every country or region you plan to visit. Lonely Planet, Rick Steves’ Europe, and Fodor’s Travel are all great. 

Depending on the company and destination, plan to spend anywhere from $15 to $30 per paperback book. Used guides are significantly cheaper, and guides from friends are free. Just make sure they’re up to date.

12. Make a Plan

Spontaneity is great, but if you want to see lots of sights or plan to hit multiple destinations on a tight timetable, you need to know where you’re going, when, and how long you can spend in each place. That helps you control last-minute expenses and may help you lock in early-bird discounts.

To devise a realistic itinerary and schedule, combine Internet research, guidebook combing, and consultations with local experts (such as hotel concierges and tourist bureaus).

Not all vacations are touring trips. If you’re planning to stay put at a resort or on a cruise ship for all or part of your trip, planning for in-country activities is less important and perhaps entirely unnecessary. Still, plan your transit periods carefully. On cruises, it pays to plan port days, as time is often of the essence and crowds can be problematic.

13. Ask Your Doctor for an Antibiotic Prescription

I’m not a doctor, and this isn’t medical advice. 

That said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages travelers to talk to their physicians about the risks of bacterial illness in their destinations and fill antibiotic prescriptions before they travel if warranted. 

If you have U.S. health insurance, you’ll likely pay less for prescriptions at home than abroad.

14. Learn the Language and Customs

You don’t have to be fluent in every language you encounter on your trip, but you should take the time to learn basic words, phrases, and cultural customs. Knowing how to communicate can reduce the risk of misunderstandings during everyday interactions and transactions — and the risk that unscrupulous merchants take advantage of you.

Download and install the Google Translate app on your smartphone in case you need quick translations for words or phrases. There’s a nifty feature where you can use your phone’s camera to translate signs and any other text instantly.

15. Evaluate Your Luggage Situation

Pack as efficiently as possible to avoid airline fees like checked bag fees and overweight charges. 

Ensure your carry-on bags fit your airline’s size guidelines, which are usually available on carrier websites. Your checked bags must also be within the acceptable weight range. Many airlines charge extra for bags that weigh more than 50 pounds.

Packing efficiently requires thinking carefully about what you’ll need in your destination and how much convenience you’re willing to sacrifice for lower costs. In general, follow these basic guidelines:

  • Use soft bags for your carry-ons to make it easier to fit in the overhead bins.
  • On stays longer than one week, plan to do laundry on your trip.
  • Avoid bringing anything you only need at home — for instance, if you’re heading to a tropical destination during the winter, don’t wear a coat to the airport.
  • Pack electronics carefully but not in separate bags — for instance, put your laptop in your main travel bag, not its own case.

You can also avoid or reduce certain airline fees by signing up for certain branded airline credit cards. For instance, the American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card waives baggage fees on your first checked bag, knocking $50 off the cost of a round-trip flight.

16. Get an Airport Lounge Membership

An airport lounge membership can pay for itself quickly if you travel abroad frequently.

Most lounges offer multiple perks, including complimentary Wi-Fi, food, and beverages (alcoholic and nonalcoholic). Airport Internet access, food, and drink are notoriously overpriced, so your “splurge” is likely to pay for itself faster than you think.

Assuming you’re not intensely loyal to a particular airline, Priority Pass is your best option. It offers access to more than 1,000 independent and airline-owned lounges worldwide, including hundreds in popular European and Asian destinations.

A Priority Pass Prestige membership, which entitles you to unlimited complimentary lounge access anywhere in the world, costs $399 per year. Compare that with full-price entry fees ranging from $30 to $60 per person at most lounges. 

If you play your cards right, you might not even have to pay. Some high-end hotel credit cards, including the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card, offer complimentary Priority Pass memberships. So do some high-end general-purpose travel cards, like the Capital One Venture X Rewards card.

The catch: Most of those credit cards have hefty annual fees to the tune of $300 to $500. But if you spend enough to offset those fees through earned rewards and take advantage of other potentially valuable card benefits, it’s worth it.

17. Pack a Refillable Water Bottle

Refillable water bottles are good for the environment and your wallet. It’s no wonder they’re more fashionable than ever before. Even in places with cheap bottled water, you can save a decent chunk of change by refilling your bottle in places like the airport and hotel. 

If you’re worried about water quality in your destination country, invest in iodide tablets. Depending on the quantity you buy, you can get 100 tablets of Potable Aqua brand for around $10 on Amazon.

18. Hack the Housesit

Even if you don’t have children, pets, or valuable possessions, it’s a good idea for international travelers to make housesitting arrangements for trips longer than a few days. Use a free housesitting site like Nomador or to find people willing to watch your place for free in exchange for accommodation.

Or rather than hire a stranger to drop in on your place, recruit friends and family members. You still probably won’t need to pay them, at least not directly. A thoughtful souvenir from your destination country plus the perks that come with full use of an empty house or apartment should suffice.

19. Don’t Park at the Airport

One year, on the morning we were scheduled to leave for Key West, my wife and I made a potentially trip-ruining mistake. We mistimed the alarm and woke up an hour late, scrambling our plans to take public transit to the airport.

In our haste, we decided that the fastest option was to drive in and park at one of the main garages next to the international terminal. The total parking bill for our weeklong trip was over $150. 

Financially speaking, parking at the airport is a bad move. And unless you end up in the situation my wife and I were in, there are ways to avoid it.

  • Get a Ride. Probably the cheapest option, getting a ride ensures your car’s at home to fool would-be burglars into thinking you’re around. If you’re uncomfortable asking people you know for rides, pay them a reasonable “fare.” It’s still cheaper than parking.
  • Rideshare. Unless you live a great distance from the airport or will only be away for a couple of days, ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are likely to be cheaper than parking at the airport.  
  • Airport Economy Garages. Economy garages on airport property are typically near secondary passenger terminals or cargo hubs. They can easily cost 25% to 50% less than the main garages. Most have reliable transportation to the main terminal area. 
  • Off-Airport Parking. Many big airports have massive lots or garages just off airport property. They’re usually cheaper than airport options — sometimes just a few dollars per day. And they typically have free or low-cost transportation to the main terminal.
  • Commuter Lots. Commuter lots are the cheapest, riskiest option. They’re often free, but they may have restrictions on overnight or long-term parking. Do your due diligence. You don’t want to return to an impounded car with a massive towing-and-storage bill.

20. Pack Plenty of Snacks

Newsflash: Airport food is expensive. As a rule of thumb, I assume anything I buy at an airport will cost 50% more than in the real world. Some items, like bottled water and soft drinks, are even costlier.

Avoid airport price-gouging by skipping full meals and store-bought snacks, even on long layovers. Instead, bring nutritious, energy-dense snacks from outside. 

If you pack them properly, you’ll get them through security without a problem. But you can’t bring outside beverages through security in many countries, so don’t forget your (empty) refillable water bottle.

21. Don’t Get Cash in Transit

In many developing countries, cash is king. In others, it’s still the medium of choice for small businesses. With few exceptions, you’re going to need foreign currency in hard cash at your destination. 

But whatever you do, don’t get it at a currency exchange bureau unless specifically instructed to by a trusted travel agent or frequent traveler with deep knowledge of your destination country.

Local currency bureaus charge ridiculous commissions, especially for smaller transactions. You can expect to lose up to 8% of your exchanged cash to these fees. It’s usually cheaper (and more convenient) to visit a local ATM that accepts international debit cards. 

Many banks waive foreign transaction fees to get cash at ATMs. Even if they don’t, it costs 3% at most. In the absence of a transaction fee, there’s usually a small bank surcharge — $2 to $5 in most cases. But on large withdrawals, that’s a far cry from 8%.

22. Rent Your Place

Why stay in a hotel when you can rent your own place? If you’re willing to share an apartment with others, private rooms on peer-to-peer marketplaces like Airbnb and Vrbo are almost always more affordable than traditional hotels. 

They’re often cost-competitive with hostels, where you’re likely to be in even closer quarters. 

I did a cursory Airbnb search for a random midweek night in Paris and found hundreds of private rooms for less than $100, a bargain for the City of Light and about half the price of a comparable hotel room in the city center.

Beyond lower per-night costs, rented accommodations have other benefits. 

They’re often in residential neighborhoods, meaning you can find more affordable grocery and dining-out options than in upscale hotel districts. They also usually have kitchens, meaning you can cook in as often as you like. 

And they frequently have free entertainment, such as TV, movies, and Internet. You usually have to pay for those in hotels.

23. Eat Out Sparingly

One of the easiest ways to save money on vacation is to reduce spending on restaurant meals. If your room has a mini-fridge, buy low-prep ingredients like sandwich supplies and instant oatmeal with cream and fruit. You can easily replace a few meals that way. 

In rental rooms with full-scale kitchens, you can get more creative, cooking as many dinners as you have energy for. Either way, locate the nearest grocery store as soon as you get settled in your new digs.

24. Dine Where the Locals Do

Part of the fun of traveling abroad is trying new cuisines. Making your own meals can help you stretch your budget further. But it won’t supply any local flavor.

At the risk of violating my own advice, I firmly believe travelers should eat out as often as they can afford to. The trick is finding cost-effective options that deliver excellent local flavors without destroying your travel budget. 

When you eat out, opt for street food, coffee shops, and other low-cost options. Brick-and-mortar spots might appear on Google Maps. For street food, refer to a local travel guide to find the streets or districts where food vendors congregate.

25. Watch for Credit Card Surcharges

Foreign transaction fees aren’t the only way to lose money on international credit card transactions. 

Many small merchants abroad impose credit card processing surcharges — often a relatively low flat fee but sometimes a transaction percentage as high as 3% or 4%.

The best way to avoid these fees is to carry enough cash to get you through until you return to your home base for a break. Just don’t carry too much to avoid making yourself a target for theft.

26. Stay Vigilant

Petty theft can happen anywhere. Pickpockets love crowded areas where tourists congregate, such as public plazas, busy sidewalks, and subway platforms.

It happened many years ago, but I remember the evening I was nearly pickpocketed like yesterday. I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder on a crowded subway platform in Barcelona when I felt a rustle near my right cargo pocket (yes, I was wearing cargo shorts).

I looked down, and an older man was deftly reaching into the partially opened void, closing in on my wallet. I batted his hand away, moved through the crowd, and hopped on an arriving train, keeping my eyes on the guy the whole time. 

He played it cool, never meeting my gaze. I don’t doubt he already had his next target in mind.

As I learned that day, the best prevention against pickpocketing and snatch-and-run thefts is to remain vigilant and take basic precautions to secure cash, cards, identification, and valuables.

  • Don’t leave your wallet in plain sight (no open cargo shorts pockets!)
  • Don’t handle cash in public unless you’re engaged in a financial transaction
  • Completely close purses and bags, and carry them in front of you
  • Stay alert in crowds

You should also take care in less crowded areas after dark. While you’re not likely to be pickpocketed in a dark, deserted alley, you’re certainly at risk of a mugging — a potentially more dangerous circumstance.

27. Use an RFID-Blocking Wallet

These days, not all pickpockets use their hands. 

One of the lesser-known ways to avoid theft while traveling abroad is to store your payment cards in a radio-frequency identification-blocking (RFID) wallet or sleeve. They interfere with RFID waves, which high-tech thieves use to steal people’s payment credentials. 

Basic RFID-blocking sleeves cost as little as $10, a small price to pay to prevent a potentially costly and inconvenient theft.

28. Secure Valuables in Your Room

Unfortunately, the risk of theft doesn’t stop at the door of your hotel.

Leaving valuables out of sight in your room isn’t always enough. Other people — housekeepers, management personnel, porters, repair technicians — are authorized to enter your room. They may be tempted to rifle through your possessions.

When booking accommodations, give preference to establishments that offer secure lockboxes or safes in private rooms or guests-only areas. Get in the habit of storing valuables, including extra cash, jewelry, and especially your passport, in these secure spaces.

29. Know How to Recognize Scams

Even the most experienced travelers get hoodwinked from time to time. Spend some time learning about common scams in your destination: how they work, where they’re most likely to happen, and how to spot and avoid them.

Travel scams take many forms, but there are a few you should be aware of no matter where you go.

  • Taxi Scams. There are far too many ways for unscrupulous taxi drivers to take advantage of naive travelers. Angles include setting the meter at a higher rate than warranted, adding unapproved surcharges (such as for the airport or extra passengers), and taking indirect routes to rack up the meter.
  • Guide Scams. Beware of overly friendly locals bearing verbal gifts. If someone starts asking questions about where you’re from, where you’re staying, and what sights you’re planning on seeing, they’re probably warming up to give you detailed advice about what to do — and then ask you to pay for it. 
  • Bag Scams. Many freelance porters are perfectly honest, but it’s wise not to trust anyone with your bags whose identity or employment you can’t verify.
  • Tab Scams. Avoid leaving your bar or restaurant tab open when you can’t see prices. Instead, pay for each purchase separately. Otherwise, you could end up with an exorbitantly inflated bill. In some countries, bouncers threaten foreign patrons who balk at inflated tabs with violence.

30. Use a Cheap or Free Messaging App

Unless you have an international calling or data plan, your phone’s functionality may be limited or nonexistent in your destination. If you want to communicate with friends and family in-country or back home, download a free or cheap messaging app, such as WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is especially useful for text communications. Instead of local cell networks, it uses your phone’s Internet connection. That prevents SMS fees, which can be costly overseas.

The catch: If you leave on your phone’s LTE receiver (the way your phone accesses the Internet when you don’t have Wi-Fi), it could inadvertently connect to local data networks, resulting in unwelcome charges your phone’s data plan doesn’t cover. 

Avoid that by turning off LTE and connecting to secure local Wi-Fi networks only. In urban areas, you shouldn’t need LTE anyway. Many public places you go will have Wi-Fi available for customers or patrons (you just need the password). In remote regions, that could be a limiting factor. 

31. Get an Unlocked Cellphone or International Data Plan

If you don’t want to rely on Wi-Fi while abroad, get an unlocked phone that accepts country-specific SIM cards. 

That involves a considerable upfront expense (at least $50 for a serviceable phone). However, it’s probably worthwhile if you plan to travel in remote areas without reliable Internet access, where messaging apps are of limited utility.

Alternatively, check with your carrier about international calling and data plans. 

My wife and I considered doing that in Portugal so we could freely make calls to local businesses and call home in an emergency. It would have set us back about $10 per day, a typical cost for a major carrier’s plan. Ultimately, we decided we could get by without it.

32. Use Public Transportation

With notable exceptions like New York City, American cities’ public transportation systems are less developed and reliable than other major Western cities. 

In virtually every European capital, you can move about the city center and outlying neighborhoods exclusively on foot or by bus, tram, and rail. Ditto for major cities in Australia, East Asia, and parts of Latin America. And public transit is almost always the cheapest option.

Public transit does fall flat in parts of the developing world. If you’re not sure about the safety, reliability, or extensiveness of the public transportation systems in your destination cities, check with impartial third parties (such as travel guides or travel agents) before your trip.

33. Hire a Local Guide

In destinations where you’re likely to have significant cultural or linguistic impediments, a local guide can make a big difference. 

Of course, you do have to pay them, a potentially insurmountable challenge for frugal travelers in developed countries. However, in low-cost countries, the relatively modest expense may be worthwhile even for tight-fisted tourists.

Competent local guides serve as day (or multiday) planners, history and culture experts, interpreters, and fixers. They can dramatically enhance your trip’s efficiency, protect you from those who’d take advantage, and take you to places you may not have discovered on your own.

Guide-finding resources abound. Aside from local tourist bureaus and travel agents, check websites and apps like Showaround.

34. Look for Red-Eye Returns

If you’re returning to the U.S. from a relatively remote, distant international destination, you might not have a choice in the matter. But if you have an option to begin your return journey in the evening or the following morning, choose the former.

Flying out in the evening is often cheaper and cuts a lot of dead time. If you were to fly out in the morning, you wouldn’t schedule anything major the night before anyway. So you’ll probably spend most of the evening relaxing in your hotel room. 

Why count the time waiting to leave when you can get a head start? If you’re crossing multiple time zones on your return trip, you’re going to be jet-lagged when you get home anyway, regardless of when your journey began.

Final Word

Going abroad is so often memorable precisely because it’s unusual. Traveling to new places takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you in a new and unfamiliar place. 

International travel is a great privilege. Not everyone has the time or budget to head overseas, even for a few days. But if you plan carefully, save stringently, and follow these money-saving tips, an unforgettable international trip is closer than you think.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.