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6 tips to stretch your vacation dollars

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Avoid the high cost of being connected via your smartphone by only checking your email in Wi-Fi zones, especially when traveling overseas. You can save hundreds of dollars' worth in data charges from your carrier in this way.

Similarly, if you're headed out of the U.S., use Google Voice or Skype on your smartphone or laptop to make free calls to U.S. numbers and low-cost calls to foreign ones. For example, dialing a French landline on Google Voice costs 2 cents per minute and a mobile call 15 cents per minute, while AT&T's cheapest rate for international calls to France is 99 cents per minute.

Your smartphone can also be a savings tool if you tap applications, such as GasBuddy, which identifies the lowest-price filling stations; ATM Hunter, a location finder for ATMs that you can use to find your own bank's ATMs; and Scoutmob, a new coupon app for restaurants and shops in cities across the country.

"With the massive number of apps and instant Web access available on the major phone platforms, saving money on the road has never been easier," Fan says.


 

 

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