Using A Credit Card To Save Money While Traveling
Saving money and traveling don't seem to be a likely pair, but the two can go hand-in-hand quite nicely. Perhaps traveling is not a way to save money in the traditional sense, but it is possible to save money while traveling. The use of a credit card when traveling makes saving money much easier.
How you use your card, what you use it on and even what card you are using will all play a role in how much you can save on your next vacation. Many credit card providers offer small incentives that can really add up during a big trip, especially if you're bringing the whole family along. One of the most important factors to consider is what credit card you are using.
Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees
Not all credit cards are designed for travel to foreign countries. Many of them tack on extra fees for transactions in foreign countries. These fees can range anywhere from 1 to 3 percent. That fee is added on when you book a hotel, when you go out to eat, when you buy something from a store or when you attend an event.
It makes sense to use a credit card specifically for traveling if you're traveling to a foreign country or if you travel often. That means reviewing the fine print and making sure there is no foreign transaction fee. Even the smallest fees start to add up after only a few days of vacation. Foreign transactions are not the only fees that can really hurt the wallet if you aren't prepared.
Reducing Fees for Flying
Choosing a card that gives great reward miles is smart, but what about all of the extra fees you encounter when flying? There are fees for checking bags, for accessing the lounge, for having a meal and even, for watching movies. These fees vary according to the airline but you can be sure there are going to be some fees.
Many credit cards designed for travel include credits that can be used against these fees. Even if you don't acquire enough credits to eliminate the fees entirely you can still make a noticeable dent.
There will likely be some restrictions, whether it is using a certain airline, booking during a certain time, or using your credits before a period of time has elapsed. Familiarize yourself with the restrictions on the card and then plan accordingly. While you are looking at this information take a moment to review any shopping incentives offered by the card provider.
Take Advantage of Incentives
Most cards offer incentives for spending your money at certain places. This may include restaurants, events, or shops. You might not normally spend your money at these places, but if you are trying to save money while traveling, it can be a real help.
You won't be saving money if the discounts are offered at a store or restaurant that is already overpriced. Review the prices first and then decide if the savings are enough to warrant shopping from that location.
You might even have fun exploring new restaurants or stores that you didn't know about. You will need to check with the website for your credit card provider to see if they offer any such incentives and where they want you to go. The locations may change on a monthly basis so don't plan too far ahead for a specific store.
You Have To Do the Research
The credit card companies aren't going to call you and list off all of their “hidden” benefits. You will have to do the research and discover for yourself just what a particular card has to offer. If you don't have a travel card already, then you can compare benefits and choose the best card for your future trip.
If you have already settled for a card and don't want to change, then it's up to you to find out what discounts your card offers and then take full advantage of them. Likewise, you will want to learn about all of their fees, especially relating to foreign travel and transactions.
Thomas Gunner is a successful entrepreneur and business owner. He operates ReviewFilter.com, which is a cloud based tool for Hotel And Restaurant operators that engages with recent customers via email or SMS and invites them to give feedback on their recent experience of your business.
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