Home News Travel 6 Money-Saving Tips That Came In Clutch When I Was Traveling To The US From Canada

6 Money-Saving Tips That Came In Clutch When I Was Traveling To The US From Canada

6 Money-Saving Tips That Came In Clutch When I Was Traveling To The US From Canada

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Traveling on a budget can take a fair bit of research: you’ve gotta dig around to find out about the cheap hidden gems worth visiting, the overpriced tourist traps to avoid and the affordable accommodations that won’t leave you with bedbugs.

In preparation for a recent trip across the Canadian-US border, I scoured the internet and probed locals for money-saving intel—and it seriously paid off.

Knowledge is power, baby, and I’m happy to share it: here are a few dos and don’ts that’ll help you stay within budget on your next American vacation.

Do: get a currency-conversion credit card

National banks might charge you a foreign currency. exchange rate of 2.5% whenever you use your Canadian credit card to pay for USD transactions. CIBC offers prepaid travel cards that’ll help you save money — they’ll ship it to existing customers free of charge, and you can load up to ten currencies at a time.

Definitely check with your bank to see what your options are.

Don’t: grocery shop at Target

A self-service checkout at Target.

A self-service checkout at Target.

Courtesy of Sierra Riley

Maybe I’m just a sucker for their red-and-white branding and adorable mascot, but I thought Target was more of a budget-friendly shop than it turned out to be. The grocery prices here were high when compared to Walmart or even Trader Joe’s.

Go to Target if you want a taste of the great American capitalist experience, but my advice would be to skip it if you’re going for a grocery run.

Do: travel to a sales tax-free state

Did you know that there are five states in the US that don’t have sales tax?

Oregon, Alaska, New Hampshire, Montana and Delaware are sales tax-free states — and they’re all within driving distance of Canada. If you’re itching to go on an American road trip without breaking the bank, consider traveling to one of these places to cut your costs.

Don’t: check bags

Not all airline tickets include checked baggage in the cost, and even if you do pay to check a bag, there are no guarantees it’ll make it to your destination with you.

Swerve the stress and stick to what you can fit in your carry-on and personal item. Wear your bulkier items and layer up on the journey if need be, use packing cubes and godspeed.

Do: take the bus or train

Though the journey may be longer than flying, opting for budget-friendly ground transportation will still get you from point A to point B. Bonus: baggage allowances are usually more generous.

Prices will obviously depend upon which cities you’re traveling to/from, but I saved about two hundred bucks on my recent trip from Vancouver to Portland by taking the Amtrak.

Don’t: rack up roaming charges

I’m a Fido customer, and for me it costs about $12 per day for a roaming plan in the States. That isn’t bad for a short-term fling, but my recent trip to Portland lasted about three weeks. You can do the math there; I wasn’t about to drop that kind of cash, so I did some research and found an attractive solution.

Xfinity a service provider in the US, has millions of WiFi hotspots across the country that you can access it even if you aren’t a customer. It’s $20 for a 30-day pass to unlimited Wi-Fi. You’re welcome.


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