Summer travel season is upon us, and if your plans include an international adventure, there are several steps you can take to ensure your trip is as cost-effective as possible. Here are some key tips to help you save money while enjoying your travels:

  1. Get a Travel Credit Card
    A travel credit card can be a game-changer for international trips. One major benefit is avoiding the 1-3% foreign transaction fee that many credit card companies impose. Additionally, travel credit cards offer numerous perks, such as:

    • Points for future travel
    • Free checked bags
    • Travel insurance
    • Delayed baggage benefits

    Choose a card that offers benefits aligning with your travel needs. For a current list of the best travel credit cards, check here. Don’t forget to notify your credit card company about your travel dates to prevent any inconvenient denied charges while abroad.

  2. Use Flight Trackers
    Set up alerts well in advance on flight tracking websites like or use Google Alerts to monitor prices for your desired flights. This strategy helps you book at the least expensive time. Generally, the best time to book is:

    • 1-3 months in advance for domestic flights
    • 2-8 months in advance for international flights

    These websites also allow you to compare prices across airlines and find deals on hotels and rental cars, ensuring you get the best overall rates.

  3. Consider Travel Insurance
    Travel insurance can be a lifesaver, covering situations like flight cancellations, lost luggage, and medical emergencies. Whether you need it depends on several factors:

    • Does your credit card offer similar coverage?
    • Is your trip refundable?
    • What is your risk tolerance?

    Travel insurance is especially important for those on Medicare, as it doesn’t cover overseas medical expenses. Policies vary, so read the fine print carefully. If you prefer the flexibility to cancel for any reason, expect to pay a bit more. For a list of recommended travel insurers, check here.

  4. Book Ahead
    Booking in advance can save you money and ensure you experience everything you want without the hassle of last-minute planning. Consider pre-booking:

    • Flights
    • Lodging
    • Car rentals
    • Activities
    • Restaurants

Prices often increase closer to the travel date, and availability can become limited. Planning ahead helps you avoid higher costs and disappointment.

By following these tips, you can make your summer travels more affordable and stress-free. Happy travels!