A Little Known Secret To Help You To Travel To Europe On A Budget

Travelling to Europe can seem like a daunting expense. Aside from the obvious costs of the flight and hotel and places to visit during travel to Europe you still might have to rent a car, pay for insurance and exchange currency. Put it all together and you’re looking at a small fortune.

Luckily, most of us have access to a tool in our wallet, which, if used properly can save us hundreds, even thousands of dollars when travelling: the travel credit card.

Here are several ways travel credit cards can help you get to your European destination faster, cheaper and in style.

First is the credit card welcome bonus. Most travel credit cards, such as the Air Miles credit card, come with hefty incentives for people to apply for the card. These incentives, can give you enough points to get you one way to Europe.

But people should also consider hotel credit cards. Whether with Starwood, Marriott or Hilton, you can often get up to 5 nights free just for signing-up and using their co-branded card.

If one credit card sign-up bonus alone won’t get you to your destination, trying finding another card that allows you to transfer points to your targeted rewards program. Stacking your points from multiple credit card welcome bonus offers is the quickest way to accumulate points.

To avoid having to spend more than you have, try to wait for welcome bonus offers that also include a first annual fee waiver. This will make the sign-up bonus truly free. Also, you’ll want to make sure you pay attention to the minimum requirements to be eligible for the welcome bonus. Most require some type of minimum spend in a 3 month time frame or so. Don’t go for an offer that will require you to spend more than you would have to just by shifting card spend you would have spent otherwise.

The second big travel money saver credit cards offer is insurance. If you’re travelling to Europe you’ll want trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost baggage, travel medical, and car rental insurance if applicable. All those coverages can cost you well over $700 alone.

Car insurance is an extra $30 / day. For a seven day trip that’s $210. Trip cancellation can cost between $150 to $325.  Travel medical insurance can cost between $175 and $425 per year. That’s a value of over $750 at the high end!

So next time, before you’re upsold insurance when booking your flight online or at the car rental agency, make sure you check to see if you’re already covered by your credit card.

The third big money saver some travel credit cards  offer is fee free currency exchange. What that means exactly, is that the issuer will not charge a fee to exchange your currency over and above the spot rate i.e. the exchange rate quoted on the Wall Street Journal. The spot rate is essentially the lowest rate a corporation could pay when exchanging huge sums of money. There is no built in spread or margin to exchange the funds, charged by your issuing bank. If you travel out of country often, this could be a savings of 2.5% to 3%, outweighing the value of most rewards programs.

So there you have. It’s hard to travel free, but these travel card perks and incentives will help you travel cheaper.

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