Traveling is not cheap but it can be affordable. With wit and some clever tricks, you will be cutting down travel costs in no time. Learn the financial travel tips that save lives.
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Avoid the unexpected
Research and planning go a long way. Find great money saving deals, safe housing, and fun things to do. You’’’ take the hassle out of your trip.
Start with an extensive checklist of everything essential to your basic human needs: toothbrush, gaming console, some underwear and, you bet, Netflix! If you are traveling abroad, make sure these are safe for travel. Do not be that person who spends hours at customs, body searched because he brought an inhaler or codeine pills. Reach out to the destination’s U.S. embassy for specific details.
Also, plan lodging, meal, and entertainment ahead. The more prepared you are before you leave, the clearer the itinerary will be, and less you will have unforeseen expenses. There are numerous tools to create checklists or define a precise trip itinerary.
Cash or credit
This second financial travel tip is crucial to keep in mind: converting money abroad adds unnecessary charges to your travel expenses. The currency exchange rate is always better in the US than abroad, especially if you go around looking like a tourist, DSLR camera around your neck, wielding US dollars at every occasion. If you have done your homework right, you have set up a travel budget. Cash it and stick to it.
Must you rely on plastic as a payment option, get a no-foreign-fee credit card, which will spare you the usual foreign transaction fees. Do not use your debit card to withdraw money from local ATMs. Trust me. During my 2-week tour of Mexico last winter break, I ended up paying big bucks in withdrawal fees.
Notify your card issuer before leaving of your route so that they do not block your card under suspicion of fraud. One last thing to know when buying with a credit card, decline if a store wants to charge you in your preferred currency, you will lose in the conversion.
Protect your belongings
You meet a bunch of interesting people on the road. Most are good and some are bad. Identity thieves, fraudsters, and pickpockets can ruin not only your vacation but also your life (no hyperbole here).
First off, leave any unnecessary document for the journey safe at home. Once on the move, keep those valuables in the hotel safe or on you at all time. I got a waterproof body wallet that I kept literally strapped to my chest under my shirt. You can get a decent one on eBay or Amazon for under $20.
Share the cost, share the fun
Traveling should be all about sharing experiences, great moments, and discovering oneself and others. There is no reason why overheads should not be as well. Whether you are with well-known friends or complete strangers, do not hesitate to split bills. Also, mt other travel tip is to have the good reflex of group traveling. By meaning, you share everything: The good, the bad, the risks and of course, the costs.
You will find many tools online that will help you manage all aspects of group traveling, from booking fares and lodging, to reserving restaurant tables and venue tickets, to balancing the checkbook. Use them without restraint.
Be a money maker
True backpackers spend lots of time on the road. This last tip from a friend who has been globetrotting for a while now: Find little jobs! There are always occasions to make some money (legally!). As an extrovert and a talented urban artist, he mixes drinks or music wherever and whenever he can. Find whatever works for you. For instance, if you are visiting the south of France, working in a winery could get you free food and shelter.
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How do you keep your finances safe and expenses low when you travel? Share your financial travel tip with us.