One of the most common goal to be added on New Year’s Resolutions and Bucket Lists is to travel to more places and to travel often. Yet this very prospect can be very daunting, particularly in terms of how to manage finances and how to deal with the costs that come with a dream trip.
Whether it is the prospect of buying plane tickets or the worry of how you will manage your money during your time away, there are many ways to help manage your finance and make your next trip as hassle-free and efficient for you as possible.
There are many different options for carrying and spending money while abroad such as debit cards, credit cards, traveler’s checks and other means of financial management. It comes with balancing multiple risks such as theft, high charges, loss and conversion discrepancies that may seem intimidating, especially to first-time travelers. However, it is definitely possible to have the best travel experience even on a budget.
Below you will find various advice and pointers on different financial management available and what you might need to be aware of as you set sail to far-flung locations.
Debit Cards, Credit Cards, and Pre-paid Travel Cards
When using ATMs abroad and your bank does not have a branch in that specific country or area, then be aware of the possibility of being charged a per-transaction fee for using a private company or another financial institution’s ATM. Likewise, the foreign ATM may charge a fee of their own, simply for using their machines.
Be aware of currency conversion fees, which are usually charged by your home bank and usually at a higher rate because the bank then makes a profit. Taking these into account, you can call your home bank to inquire about using an ATM abroad and possible currency conversion fees.
Moreover, make sure to note down your bank’s contact information in case something goes awry while you are traveling. On the other hand, it may be a good idea to open a bank account specifically for this trip, with a bank which has branches in the country you will be traveling to, as this may reduce expensive ATM and currency conversion fees.
However, another way to prevent extra fees when traveling may be to ensure you find an account that does not charge abroad. Likewise, find a credit card that does not charge abroad, even if you may not find a use for it, credit cards may be good as a back up in case of emergencies.
Online banking can be efficient in this sense as you will be able to check your transactions to ensure all are accounted for and to alert you of any fraudulent activity. Doing so will help manage bills and expenses while you are on the road.
When withdrawing money from an ATM, it’s best to withdraw large amounts to pay fewer fees. As opposed to cash withdrawals, some banks may not charge for debit purchases. In fact, if you’re lucky, the vendor may even let you withdraw cash as part of your transaction.
Another way is to use pre-paid travel cards in place of a debit or credit card. You can use this to withdraw cash, for purchases and even to book travel reservations. Just as secure as a debit or credit card, pre-paid travel cards may also be a tool for budgeting, limiting the amount you spend during your time away as a result of the limited balance. These travel cards act like credit cards but instead operate on pre-paid balance, not credit. It’s as simple as loading your home currency into the card, and with every purchase, money is converted using the daily rate, although these come with monthly fees which can be from $2.50. Furthermore, there may be fees for activation, depositing money and even making your first purchase. Travelcards may also not be free from the fees that ATMs charge. Nonetheless, the costs associated with travel cards may be higher, which can be a cause of worry especially if you are traveling on a budget.
As a result, it may be best to invest in credit cards, and there are many credit card options specifically tailored to your travel needs. Signing up for this may also come with expert advice on how best to manage your finances during your vacation and companies such as Bonsai Finance can offer insight into approaching money management, whether it is for your travels or other financial matters such as your education.
This part of your travel plan often accounts for a large portion of your budget, so ensure that you get the best flights for the amount you paid for and that fits your budget. There are many airfare saving hacks you can try to get the best deal for your trip.
Have you been browsing flights and occasionally saw how the prices fluctuate rapidly from affordable to extortionate? Knowing when the airline resets their prices and being online at the right time to snag those deals can result in fewer expenses for you and your trip. Airlines adjust their seat prices according to the date of the flight and the number of remaining seats available and will occasionally release batches of seats at a much lower price.
You can also opt for setting up price change alerts which will notify you when prices have dropped, but this can mean you might miss a few deals simply because you opened your emails late.
There is a rumor that airlines tend to increase the price of a flight when it registers your interest in it through search engines. Whether this is true or not, one way of combatting this algorithm is by clearing your cache and cookies before searching for flights.
With these elements to keep in mind, and planning ahead of your trip, this adventure may just be as stress-free and as relaxing as you want it to be. Whether it is to snag the best airfare deals there is or managing your money as you travel across the world, there is always a solution and a way to make the most out of a budget and finally achieve that dream trip of yours without breaking your wallet.