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• Apr 18, 2024

Travel is one of the best ways to have adventure and excitement in your life, whether it's a short distance from your home or half-way around the world.

However, it can be expensive and stressful even under the best circumstances. Travel will be unpredictable no matter how well you plan. That’s all part of the adventure. Fortunately, some simple tricks can help you save a bundle and ensure travel goes as smoothly as possible.

Use points and miles to pay for hotels and airfare

Accruing points and miles is a great way to fund travel. Used strategically, points and miles can significantly offset the cost of travel. Many credit cards provide a generous sign-up bonus for opening and using a new card, making this a great way to rack up points and miles quickly. Then, you can earn points and miles for each dollar you spend on everyday purchases, like groceries and eating out.

Use your credit card’s travel perks

A credit card you already have may offset some travel costs at no extra cost to you. For example, some credit cards provide trip delay, lost luggage, or car rental insurance to all cardholders. As long as you use your card to charge travel expenses such as a hotel or airfare, you won’t need to purchase expensive policies to make sure you are covered.

Some credit cards waive hefty foreign transaction fees when making purchases abroad. Be sure to review your card’s terms and conditions before traveling to see which benefits you already have.

Enroll in loyalty programs

Many airlines and hotels have generous loyalty programs. Enrolling in these programs, even if you don’t travel frequently, can lead to great perks and help save money. For example, some loyalty program members get free WiFi with every stay as soon as they enroll. Some airline loyalty program members get to board earlier than other passengers and get discounted WiFi on flights. Travelers loyal to specific hotels and airlines can accrue even more benefits, such as complimentary room upgrades, free breakfast, and free checked bags.

Be aware of “hidden” costs

When planning a trip, most travelers create a budget for their big expenses like airfare and hotels. However, it’s easy to overlook smaller expenses that can add up fast. When budgeting for a trip, be sure to include parking at the airport, the cost of local transportation, admission fees to attractions, and tips. Also, pay close attention to whether your airline charges extra for carry-on luggage or if your hotel will add a resort fee to your nightly rate when you check out. While most people budget for meals, many travelers don’t take their morning coffee or mid-afternoon snacks into account when creating a budget.

Monitor hotel and airline prices

Most savvy travelers keep an eye on prices to be sure they are getting a fair price before reserving a hotel or purchasing an airline ticket. This is a good practice, but it’s important to keep monitoring prices even after you book. If prices go down, you may be able to get a partial refund or credit to use on future trips.

Use free apps to make travel easier

Even if you want to unplug on vacation, consider using free apps to make your trip run more smoothly. If you are flying, be sure to download your airline’s app to get instant notifications about flight delays and gate changes.

You can also check in and access your boarding pass through most airline’s apps, which means one less thing to worry about. If traveling abroad, there are language mobile apps to help you communicate and read signs in almost any language. There are many tools for getting around many cities throughout the world and will tell you the best route to get almost anywhere by foot, bike, public transportation, or car.

Travel light

Packing light is usually the best approach. Traveling with one suitcase simplifies travel, makes packing and unpacking easier, and can help save on checked luggage fees. Use travel-size toiletry items whenever possible and pare down beauty products to the bare minimum. Investing in a set of compression packing cubes is a good investment since they can help you fit more clothing into a standard suitcase.

Choose clothing wisely

Choosing clothing wisely can help you travel lightly and cut down on the amount of laundry you have to do when you get home. Selecting colors and fabrics strategically is key. Darker colors won’t show stains easily. Merino wool is a great choice for travel because it keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, is naturally odor-resistant, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and layers well. Packing clothing in coordinating colors and making sure everything in your suitcase matches means that you can mix and match to create several looks with minimal clothing.

Double-check your documents

Check and double-check that you have all documents you need before traveling. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than discovering your passport has expired the day before a flight or getting pulled over on a road trip only to discover that you left your auto insurance card at home.

Also, make sure you pack your health insurance card, membership cards you might use during your trip, and any other documents you need. It’s easy to overlook making sure your paperwork is in order in the excitement of getting ready for a trip, but it’s an important step!

For more on personal finance topics

If you have more questions about other personal finance topics that matter to you, visit the Learning Center on TD Bank’s website. You can find out more information about TD Bank's services at

We hope you found this helpful. This article is based on information available in April 2024 and is subject to change. It is provided as a convenience and for general information purposes only. Our content is not intended to provide legal, tax, investment, or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank or third-party product or service is available or right for you.

For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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