Think international travel is too expensive? Think again. – Councilor Forbes

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What did you spend on your last vacation? A house rental for a week on the beach can easily cost you $ 3,000 in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Admission to Disney World costs over $ 100 per person per day (Mickey Mouse ears and souvenir photos not included). What about that night in Yosemite National Park? Even an unheated canvas tent with no interior plumbing costs $ 150 per night. Ouch.

Too often, travelers limit themselves to US destinations because they assume they can’t afford to travel overseas. This is not necessarily true, however. With careful planning, going abroad won’t cost more than a vacation near you. It takes a bit of strategy, but not as much as you might think. It’s one of the few things that is as simple as it sounds.

If you want to travel within the country to experience what America has to offer, More Power is for you. It’s an amazing country with a lifetime of places to explore. However, if traveling abroad has always been your dream and money is the only thing in your way, read on. We’ll show you how to make this international trip for the same cost you would spend domestically.

Look for discounted airfares

Stop scrolling through outdated articles asking you to clear your cookies and start searching for plane tickets on a Wednesday at 4 a.m. to find cheap flights. These tactics have been repeatedly refuted.

One thing that helps, however, is flexibility. The more flexibility you have, the more likely you are to find the cheapest airline ticket. Prices can drop when you play with travel dates, nearby airports, and the number of connections you take. It’s also easy to do. Most booking engines have built in options to check other regional airports and search multiple dates at once with just one click.

The cheapest flights of all require the ultimate flexibility: choosing your destination based on an airline ticket sale. Every month, there are a handful of super-cheap airline ticket sales, like Washington to Tokyo for $ 285 round trip or San Francisco to Bergen, Norway for $ 450. Travelers who are inspired to go anywhere (or everywhere) can use them to their advantage, cutting costs by hundreds of dollars per passenger.

If you think finding these deals is like looking for a needle in a haystack, don’t despair. Services like Scott’s Cheap Flights, Thrifty Traveler or The Flight Deal will do the hunting for you and send an email alert when there are sales from your home airport. If you don’t want to sit around and wait, you can also do your own research on Google Flights and other platforms. Just leave the destination box blank, then filter by your maximum preferred price to see where there are deals.

Fill in the gaps with reward points

Cheap flights are great, but free flights are better, at least when it comes to your bottom line. A stash of reward points goes a long way in lowering your total cost, whether you have enough for a ticket or for the whole family. Plus, they might encourage you to upgrade to business class and provide you with the extra comfort you want on a long international trip.

Reward points aren’t just for flights, as you may already know. Hotel Points can offer phenomenal value, especially when you know where to find the best rewards deals. Other perks of the card, such as free checked baggage, free breakfast at hotels, and travel insurance benefits, further sweeten the deal.

The number of points you need for an international getaway may seem overwhelming, but they add up faster than you think. Airline credit cards often offer welcome bonuses of 50,000 miles to get you started, while hotels can offer 100,000 points or more to new, qualified cardholders. For travelers who aren’t sure exactly what kind of miles and points they’ll need up front, transferable currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards let you earn now but decide later.

Once you’ve accumulated enough miles for your trip, make the most of them. Calling in the experts can help you find award flights at a lower price. Here’s how to find out if using a rewards reservation service is right for you. And if that all seems too much to handle, don’t overlook the cash rewards. A strong cash back credit card means you can get reimbursed for everything from flights and cruises, specialty tours and restaurant meals, without any hassle.

Consider extended stays

Americans tend to fill their travel schedules to the brim, running from city to city in an effort to see it all. It’s time to rethink that mentality. Not only will you spend half your vacation time in transit, budgets are skyrocketing with additional trains, planes and cab rides. Slowing down eliminates many of these costs.

Another benefit of staying in the same place for longer is that you can save on accommodation. Many hotels offer discounts or extra perks for longer stays, so unpack your suitcase and stay awhile. To get a good deal, you’ll often need to book directly with the hotel, but a few minutes on their website might help you uncover a package you can’t pass up.

This is especially true when you redeem reward points for free nights. Marriott Bonvoy is offering one free night on award stays of five consecutive nights. Hilton is also offering the fifth night free, but only to elite members. (Don’t have hotel status? You’ll get it automatically with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® card* and a few other credit cards.) IHG has one of the best deals of all, offering the fourth night free on reward stays if you have the IHG® Rewards Club Premier credit card*.

Longer stays can also mean that vacation rentals make sense as an alternative to traditional hotels. Apartments or condos can sometimes cost the same as a hotel while still providing twice the space. If you’re up for cooking, having a kitchen can keep costs down as well.

Travel where the exchange rate works in your favor

Regions like Southeast Asia, Central America, and Eastern Europe are popular with budget travelers for a reason – costs are low overall. When your dollar stretches further, it’s much easier to justify an international getaway. Start looking for destinations with $ 50 hotels, $ 5 dinners, and $ 1 museum tickets. You might be surprised at how affordable your total cost is, even after you factor in the cost of getting there.

In some cases, these low cost destinations will line up perfectly with where travelers want to go. The Taj Mahal in India and Angkor Wat in Cambodia are both must-see places that won’t break the bank. However, for some trips you may need to think outside the box.

If you dream of an expensive place, sum it up to the central experience you are looking for, then start looking for alternatives. An overwater bungalow in the Maldives is an expensive affair, but you can also enjoy a tropical vacation with fantastic snorkeling in Malaysia. African safaris are expensive in Botswana, but you can do a stand-alone version in South Africa for a fraction of the cost. Or replace a getaway in Vienna with a trip to Budapest.

Kiss the socialite

When you travel abroad, the free activities can be just as good as the ones you pay for. Suddenly, daily activities become incredible entertainment. Peruse the local grocery store for unusual ingredients. Walk around the city to admire interesting architecture or to enjoy local life at the park. Take a walk in a local park or search for street art. In some cities, even the metro stations are pretty enough to be a tourist attraction. In Naples, Italy, there’s even a museum of Egyptian, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts they found while digging up the metro system attached to one of the stations. .

One of the greatest activities of all is also something you would consider normal at home: meeting the locals. Starting a conversation won’t cost you a dime and could lead to some fascinating conversations or glimpses of the area. If you’re lucky, you might end up with a new friend.

Final result

International travel is as expensive as you can afford it. Using miles and points to subsidize your bottom line can reduce hundreds (or thousands) or dollars to your total budget, but even without rewards, there are strategies for saving money. If you can afford to travel to the United States, there’s a good chance you can travel overseas as well.

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