how to save hundreds of dollars on foreign travel

always choose the local currency — image from blog.wandr.me

Here are three tips to save big money on your next trip out of the country.

1. No-Forex. Make sure your credit card does not charge foreign exchange fees. Did you know that most credit cards tack on an extra 3% whenever you use your card outside the country? Fortunately, the solution is simple: get a No Forex credit card. While many no-forex cards come with annual fees (which may be worthwhile if you're collecting points, etc.), others are absolutely free — including some cards from Bank of America and Capital One.

2. Beware DCC (dynamic currency conversion). When paying your bill at a restaurant, hotel, or store, the credit card machine will often display a screen giving you the option to pay either in US dollars or the local currency. Always choose the local currency. Why? because Visa, MasterCharge, or Amex will always offer a much better exchange rate. If you choose to be charged in US dollars, you'll get a lousy conversion rate, paying as much as 5% more. And you'd still be subject to forex fees (unless you have a no-forex credit card) as the charge was made outside the US.

3. Virtuoso. Breakfast in a luxury hotel can cost you 35-50€ per person. Every day. You can save hundreds of dollars per hotel stay simply by booking through a Virtuoso travel advisor such as Ourisman Travel. It won't cost you a dime more, and you get:
  • daily complimentary breakfast for two
  • a unique amenity for each hotel (often a food & beverage credit) valued at $100 per stay
  • free internet access
  • an upgraded room if available at check-in
In fact, I know many hotels where you can take the hotel credit right off your bill and the upgrade is guaranteed at booking.

These three tips will save you hundreds of dollars on a typical trip out of the country.

copyright (c) 2017 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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