Many Americans are hesitant to travel internationally because they believe that it is too expensive. This, however, is not exactly the case, as there are proven ways to maximize the value of an international vacation.

Dia Adams, Travel Rewards & Credit Card Expert of Forbes Advisor and Susie Chau, Owner of Carpe Diem Traveler, lend their insight into how to get the best value for your vacation.


Adams, as a financial expert, tends to look at miles and points accrued from credit cards and loyalty programs to inform how she will be traveling. She isn’t as worried about a particular location or date of travel, either.

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“Destination choice is key. Think about the “what” you want to accomplish (beach, city, culture, nature, etc.) rather than the “where” (Ocean City, New York, Paris, Yellowstone), especially if you are constrained by dates,” she said. “Think about it: after a while, a beach is a beach. Why pay high season prices for a rental within driving distance when you could fly, especially if you’ve built up a stash of miles over the last year, and pay 75% less for your lodging?”

“For instance: one of my favorite destinations is the Canary Islands, which are just off the coast of Africa. That sounds exotic, but they’re basically Europe’s Florida and you can get there using a budget airline from most European cities,” she continues. “Twice I’ve found air tickets on miles to Madrid, found a cheap flight to the Canaries and rented a 2-bedroom beach condo inside a resort for around $500/week. One trip was the week before Easter, another was 4th of July week. Even paying cash for the tickets, which you can find for $500 or less if you watch fare sales, for a family of four, you’ll be ahead of what you pay for a beach condo in New Jersey on 4th of July week.”

Finding the best deal takes time, of course, and an adaptable mindset. Don’t focus too much on a specific hotel, airline, flight route or even destination if the budget isn’t flexible. One of the best resources for getting the best value out of any vacation is to use a travel advisor, who can help you choose and stick to your budget, especially if you don’t have rewards points saved up.

Susie Chau explains, “The bigger thing is helping clients, from a knowledge standpoint, spend their money wisely… Most people just go and ask family and friends for recommendations, but they may not be anything like those people, so advisors can really help guide people to maximize the dollars that they are spending in the right places that make the most sense and give them the most value and bang for their buck.”

Chau believes the best time to travel internationally will be in one or two years, and to book for those trips now to get the best value.

“The general story that’s stuck in everybody’s mind right now is that there’s all these deals available…but now those are very, very much slipping away, as travel demand is surging and there isn’t as much supply. And we as travel advisors understand the huge hit the supply side of things has had last year, and travel hasn’t caught up yet with the demand, especially in the past couple of weeks will all the positive news of vaccinations, etc.”

The window is closing on availability and many prices are beginning to rise as demand rises. This may be the best time to book travel further out into the future because many companies are still allowing free cancellations or waiving change fees for travel booked now.

“Patience and flexibility are key right now,” Chau said. “The budget is number one, and if people expect a good deal, they have to be flexible on dates, locations, etc.”