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The Simplest Ways To Save Money In Your Next Trip

The Simplest Ways To Save Money In Your Next Trip

With the weather outside so frightful, it’s understandable if thoughts of travel are filling your head. Whether you have a winter getaway in mind, or you’re trying to get a head start on summer vacation planning, here are a few money-saving tips that you should keep in mind:

Credit Cards Are The Best Way To Go

While everyone thinks about paying for a vacation from an affordability standpoint, few consider what type of payment to use once there. What method of payment for airfare, lodging, and other accommodations, will you use? Will you use your credit card, debit card, cash, or even checks, when applicable?

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Credit cards are the best way to go. They save on both cost and hassle. They offer a wide array of money-saving benefits and protections that are not available with cash, or even debit cards.

Best Exchange Rates

Currency conversion is a factor whenever you travel internationally. Exchanging dollars for the local currency can either save you or cost you a lot of money. According to CardHub’s Annual Currency Conversion Study, Visa and MasterCard both offer lower exchange rates than local banks or Travelex. Instead of converting physical currency, you should take a Visa/MasterCard credit card with you on your international travels. This way, your money can be converted automatically at the point of sale.

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Complimentary Rental Car Insurance

Most credit cards automatically provide rental car collision and damage insurance coverage. You simply decline the rental company’s supplemental insurance (which is money-saving in-and-of-itself) in order to use the credit card insurance.

Rewards for Usage

Credit cards offer spending-based rewards. Accumulate points to help with ongoing expenses, earn free hotel nights, or even a free flight. Many credit card companies offer impressive rewards bonuses to entice new customers. Presently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will give you a $400 statement credit for spending at least $3,000 during the first three months; the Barclaycard Arrival Card offers $400 to use for any travel-related expense when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months. These awesome incentives pay you to vacation! Keep in mind that you need excellent credit to qualify for such offers.

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Fraud Protection

If criminals somehow get your credit card information and charge expenses to your account, you won’t be held liable for payment. The four major networks–Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover–offer blanket $0 liability guarantees.

The same protection also covers debit card transactions, as long as you choose to verify your transaction by signature rather than PIN. However, with a debit card, money from your account is removed immediately at the time of transaction. You must make a claim with the bank to get your money back, and to prevent automatic monthly payments from being declined due to insufficient funds. With a credit card, you have the ability to spot and correct fraud before you make a payment on your account.Money-saving is impossible If someone steals cash right out of your pocket or purse–there’s simply no getting it back. If a credit card is stolen however, all you will need to do is deactivate that card, and have your issuer ship an emergency replacement.

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Other Considerations

The above is not meant to say that you should rely exclusively on a credit card for all travel-related spending. That is just not possible. There will always be merchants and service providers who only take cash. Along with a credit card, you should also carry an ATM card that has low, international ATM-withdrawal fees, so you are able to get to your cash, no matter where in the world you are visiting.

If you are planning an overseas trip, make sure to watch out for a merchant practice called “dynamic currency conversion.” This is when a merchant offers to convert your purchase total into dollars, using the reason that it is for your convenience. This convenience is really so the merchant can overcharge you on the exchange rate and increase their own profits.

Bottom Line

These tips and tidbits are a lot to consider. However, by keeping in mind these money-saving ideas, you will be able to plan the perfect trip. Use these tips to get you through the colder months and off to your vacation paradise!

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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