Whether backpacker or flashpacker budget will often dictate your itinerary. A niggling voice in the back of your mind it sits behind a desk eliminating the things you can’t afford from your bucket list.
Getting creative with the way in which you handle your finances can optimise the potential of your funds.
OK let’s get creative.
GETTING CREATIVE WITH YOUR TRAVEL FINANCE
COLLECT PLASTIC //
- We all know it’s great to recycle but this isn’t the kind of plastic collection I’m referring too. There are hundreds of credit and debit cards available to us all each offering various benefits.
- Make your plastic work for you.
CREDIT CARDS //
- Ensure your card doesn’t charge you a loading fee. Most credit cards charge around a 3% fee on all foreign transactions but there are those that don’t. Find one that doesn’t and use it when you’re abroad.
- Look out for cards that don’t charge an exchange fee every time you spend.
- Spend on your credit card whenever possible. Credit cards give more protection from fraudulent transactions and you can often argue your case if you feel you’ve been scammed. Money spent on a debit card is immediately taken from your current account and is harder to recover.
- If given the option to pay in your home or local currency while abroad pay in the local currency. Your credit card company will always give you a better rate than Joe Blogs at the souvenir shop.
- If you’re travelling as a couple list your partner on your account and apply for an additional card.
- Get internet banking to make international transfers and checking your balance a piece of cake.
REWARDS SCHEMES //
- Try and find a credit card with a reward scheme that will benefit you. We have one that converts our spending into points which we can then redeem as air miles.
DEBIT CARDS //
- Debit cards are preferable when it comes to withdrawing cash. Never withdraw cash on a credit card as you’ll be charged interest from the moment you take the money out of the machine.
- Watch out for foreign ATM charges.
- Make sure your card won’t charge a withdrawal fee.
EXCHANGE RATE //
- Keep up to date with the exchange rate if spending your local currency abroad. Don’t be tempted to switch off, equate prices to your local currency before you spend.
FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNTS //
- If you’re travelling in a country on a visa that allows you to set up a bank account, take the opportunity and do so.
- Using local currency is often preferable to spending the currency that is sat in the bank at home.
TRANSFERS ABROAD //
- If you are able to set up a foreign account watch the exchange rate between your home currency and the one you are currently using. When the value of your home currency is strongest transfer any money you will need for the duration of your stay into your foreign account. Making a transfer in one lump sum will save you paying for regular small transfers.
- Watching exchange rates is a frustrating game. Once you’ve made the transfer refrain from checking the rate again. You’ll only regret your decision if you see the rate has improved a week later.
GET A SAVINGS ACCOUNT //
- Don’t forget that keeping your money in a high interest savings account while you’re not using it will earn you more to travel with. Decide what funds you don’t need immediately available and find a savings account that works for you.
- Remember the longer you can commit the funds to savings the better the rate of interest you will accrue.
TRACK YOUR EXPENDITURE //
- Don’t spend blind. Know your budget, and manage your spending. Read our Wanderlust Guide to Savvy Travel for some creative ways to save money while travelling.
- Utilise your smart phone. Simon and Erin over at Never Ending Voyage have created a seriously savvy app called Trail Wallet that allows you to keep track of what you’re spending.
INVEST IN YOUR STAY //
- Invest in your stay, don’t rent and throw your money away.
- Renting anything while travelling is waving goodbye to funds that could be recycled. Obviously for short term activities that require equipment renting makes sense. Any longer than a week consider the benefits of buying new or second hand and then selling on.
- Road trip vehicles in particular are where money invested can be turned into a profitable return if you do your research and buy intelligently. Always consider buying something that you can renovate on the road.
- Never leave arranging your finances until the last minute.
- Check the expiry dates on your cards to ensure they are valid for the duration of your trip.
- Airports are the worst place to exchange currency, your bank and ATM card will always give you a better exchange rate.
- Consider how you will carry your cards and cash. Have a back up hidden in your luggage or on your person encase your primary source is lost or stolen.
- Record the details of your cards in a secure document that you can locate online or have someone email to you.
- Contact your bank and give them your itinerary to avoid having your card blocked once you start spending abroad.
- Consider carrying a small amount of US dollars. It’s a universal currency that is recognisable all over the world.
Patti agrees that informing your bank of your itinerary is vital when taking a trip abroad.
Will recommends the Australian GE Money 28 Degrees Credit Card which you can “pre-load” before taking out cash advances and avoiding paying any interest.
As perpetual travellers we’re super switched on to savvy ways to make our money go further. If you’d like to add your own tips, leave us a comment in the box below.