Winter break is right around the corner.
Taking a vacation abroad in winter has major perks: less expensive, less crowded, and lots to do. In fact, millions of people traveled overseas in December and January of last year.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a glamorous trip overseas but didn’t really know where to start.
Surprisingly, you don’t need Paris Hilton’s bank account to be a jet setter.
Here are five tips to help you save money on your winter break vacation.
1) Be a Bargain Hunter:
Be flexible on your day of departure. Generally, flying on weekdays is cheaper than on the weekends.
Traveling between countries in Europe is extremely inexpensive if you fly on smaller airlines, such as Easy Jet. When looking for a hotel, consider a hostel.
Many young people stay in reasonably priced hostels, especially when traveling abroad. They share bedrooms and bathrooms with a few other tourists.
If hostels aren’t your thing try what I did on my first trip to Europe last summer: Book expensive hotels at a fraction of the cost using an employee discount.
My aunt works for a company that is owned by Westin, and she gets a huge discount on hotel rooms.
In New York, Rome, and Paris, I stayed in four-star hotels ordinarily priced at four hundred dollars a night… for eighty bucks a night.
Can someone say, part-time job?
2) Befriend your Concierge:
If you do decide to treat yourself to a luxury hotel on your trip, remember this golden piece of advice: A concierge is a girl’s best friend.
They can give you suggestions on the best places to eat, get your discounts for events, help you figure out your surroundings, and could even get you a VIP upgrade.
My concierge in Paris was a life-saver.
When we couldn’t figure out how to ask for a ParisVisite three-day metro pass at the ticket booth, he wrote it out for us in French to give to the non-English speaking employee.
This saved us money and the hassle of having to buy our tickets every morning.
3) Save while you shop! Learn how to save on the VAT tax:
This way you can shop even more! Or at least not go home with a completely empty wallet.
The Value-added tax is a 17.5% tax added to goods, but it’s only for residents of the European Union. You can get a refund if you spend a certain amount, but the amount is different for each store.
To get your refund just fill out the form in the store and turn it in at the VAT refunds counter at the airport.
Make sure to have your receipt and the goods ready to show them. You’ll get the money put back in your account and it will be like getting paid…to shop!
4) Sheep brains? No, thank you.
Learn what the local cuisine consists of before ordering blindly off the menu:
This one will save you money because if you don’t know what Haggis is and you decide to be a food adventurer and give it a try, you might not be too happy when the food comes and you realize you’ve spent good money on sheep organs.
It’s great to be a food adventurer, but not if you don’t actually eat the food you order.
5) Explore the city behind the city…for free:
Some of the most memorable moments of my trip were either free or didn’t involve crowded tourist attractions.
The Vatican was one of those free places, offering access to ancient art, sculptures, and an English-speaking tour.
Parks, street markets, festivals, and some museums offer free sightseeing that is just as enjoyable as expensive tours and attractions.
Remember, you can truly experience a place the most just by soaking up the everyday sights, strolling the streets, sitting at a sidewalk café, and people-watching.
5 Fun Winter Activities Overseas:
1.) Hit the slopes: Brush up on your skiing and snowboarding skills.
2.) Attend the theatre: London theatre and opera season is magical in winter.
3.) Celebrate: Attend winter festivals, such as the Festival of Lights in Lyon, France.
4.) Get hot: Jamaica, Thailand, and the Bahaman, Caribbean, and U.S. Virgin Islands are great warm-weather winter vacation destinations sure to make those winter blues disappear.
5.) Shop ’til you drop: Winter sales are always big and you can go back to school wearing the latest trends.