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How to Save Money While Traveling This Summer

Ask Savvy: How Can I Save Money on My European Vacation?


Dear Savvy,

On June 10th I'm leaving to go to Europe for two weeks with my roommate. Her family is loaded, but mine? Not so much. I've been working a lot but since I'm in college, I really am trying to have a budget. Basically, do you have any tips on saving money while there? I'll be going to London, Paris, and Rome for four days each. All I've heard about is how awful the exchange rate is so I understand I'll be spending a significant amount of money. I think there are different currencies in London than there are in Paris and Rome, so I'm assuming I'll need different types of money as well. I could use any advice you could give me, like should I use my credit card overseas — basically any kind of money saving tips! I'd really appreciate it!

To see my answer just, read more.

A couple months ago we talked about tips for traveling abroad in terms of using credit cards and the best ways to exchange money, and a lot of you had some incredibly useful tips based on your travel and living abroad experiences. In case you missed it, you can find all of that information here.

As for saving money on your travels, I think you have the hardest part down — you understand that it's going to be expensive and have realistic expectations of what things are going to cost. It's obvious that you're not going to justify making extravagant purchases while abroad just because you're on vacation, and that's an unfortunate mistake that many excited travelers make. Just a word of advice: have a chat with your friend about your budget before you're on your trip so that she's not constantly suggesting restaurants or activities that are out of your price range. You're more likely to follow a budget if you're not trying to keep up with your well-off friend.

You can have a blast on a budget so don't let it get you down. You just have to choose your expenses wisely. For example, since you're hitting up three amazing cities you should commit to having just one "experience" meal while you're in each city. The rest of the time, eat like a local! Pick up items from the grocery store, including snacks for your purse. Picnics are a wonderful way to enjoy a city without breaking the bank — enjoying the weather and some local treats while chatting with your friend is just as memorable as chilling in a local cafe. It's just a little easier on your wallet.

Another area where you should look to save money is on souvenirs. It can be tempting to pick up little tchotchkes for your friends back home, but with exchange rates pitted against the dollar right now you're going to be paying way too much for items that are already overpriced. A better idea? Take amazing pictures, and when you get home select a photo for each friend you think is deserving. Have them printed a bit larger than usual and buy inexpensive frames for the photos. Those gifts show thoughtfulness and you're likely to see them up on the barren walls of their college abode, rather than stuffed in a drawer. Thinking ahead, this could also be a good idea for holiday gifts.

Bon Voyage! You're going to have an unforgettable trip. Don't forget to share your gorgeous photos on TeamSugar when you return!

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