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Experienced travelers share their top 8 tips for saving money abroad

Kathleen Elkins
Experienced travelers share their top 8 tips for saving money abroad

Traveling doesn't have to cost a fortune. That is, if you do your research and stick to a few basic guidelines.

To help you make the most out of your next trip without breaking the bank, CNBC rounded up eight tips from experienced world travelers.

Read on to learn how to stretch your money on the road.

Take advantage of credit card rewards

"Air miles are the world's largest unofficial currency and act as both weapon and reward for the frequent traveler," says CEO Richard Moross , who travels internationally at least once a month. "I remain fiercely loyal to my airlines and hotels of choice to maximize comfort, speed, familiarity and long-term rewards on the road."

Read more about how to pick the best rewards credit card and check out the best travel credit cards of 2017.

Watch out for foreign transaction fees

An easy way credit card companies make money is by imposing fees and extra charges for foreign transactions. "Foreign exchange fees are the banks and credit card companies' dirty little secret," says Moross. "If you travel regularly, you need a better solution for card and cash payments."

Moross's solution is Revolut, an overseas spending card. "It's essentially a prepaid Mastercard that gives me the interbank exchange rate. I load it up with Pounds Sterling, as I live in the UK, and can use it in almost any country in the world and pay no foreign exchange fees, including when taking money out of ATMs."

You can also consider applying for a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees.

When using your credit card, always pick the local currency

"When you use your credit card abroad, you will often be given the option to be charged in your home currency," writes Matt Kepnes, travel blogger and author of "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day."

So, instead of being charged in euros, for example, you will be asked if you want to be charged in U.S. dollars. "Never say yes," writes Kepnes. "The rate at which they are converting the currency is always worse than the rate your bank will give you. Pick the local currency and let your credit card company make the conversion. You'll get a better rate."

Consider all of your airport options

"When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly into airports other than your final destination, and then take a train or bus," says Kepnes. "This is especially true during peak travel season or festivals."

Of course, you'll want to make sure the airport isn't too far out of the way and calculate whether or not the amount saved on the flight is worth the extra transport required.

Don't pay for WiFi

"Libraries, Starbucks, and most cafes have free WiFi," says Kepnes. "Instead of being stuck having to pay for Internet access, go to one of these spots."

When you're connected, use that time to catch up on texts and phone calls. Texting and calling abroad can easily add up, so turn off cellular data and use WiFi to avoid excessive chargers.

Save your fine dining for lunch time

If you want to try expensive restaurants, going midday, say Kepnes: "Most restaurants offer lunch specials much cheaper than those on the normal dinner menu."

And remember, just because you're on the road doesn't mean you have to go out for every meal. "Visit the local supermarket to see what the local palate is like and cook yourself a nice dinner," he suggests. "If you don't have a kitchen where you are staying, hit the markets and make yourself some sandwiches for a picnic in the park."

Stay longer

"If you're thinking of staying in a town for more than a week, compare the weekly, fortnightly and monthly rate for the holiday home you like," write travel bloggers Josh and Erin Bender, who have been traveling the world nonstop with their family since 2012.

"In some occasions the owner really wants the place booked and will provide significant discounts on a monthly rate. On several occasions we only had three weeks available but booked a month because that rate was much cheaper than the weekly rate."

Travel when others won't

Traveling during holidays and peak season is going to cost you more. If possible, plan your trips during the off-season, the Benders write: "Accommodation prices can be up to 50 percent lower during the low seasons, so the savings really add up."

Another pro of going low: Chances are, your destination will be much less crowded.

Don't miss: 28-year-old CEO who's taken 500 flights shares his No. 1 travel tip



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