Whether it's solo travel, a honeymoon holiday, or a family vacation, overseas travel requires a lot of planning, and that includes planning your travel money. Knowing how you will manage your money is essential to safe travel and will save you plenty of trouble.
1. Create a travel budget
Budgeting can be one of the most important parts for your travel plan after you've decided where to go. By taking time to make your spending plan, you'll be able to see where your money is going. This helps you avoid overspending which may result in running out of money halfway and having to turn to friends and family or even returning home with a huge credit card bill.
Consider how long you'll be away and how much you'll spend each day. This includes accommodations, activities, meals,transportation, gratuities, souvenirs, etc. While you should stick to your budget most of the time, make it flexible and allow yourself to have occasional splurges so that you can enjoy your trip as much as possible.
To take much of the stress out of working out a travel budget, think about booking an inclusive vacation with a trustworthy tour operator which offers stress-free, tailor-made tours and can include almost everything from lodging to guiding. The good thing about an inclusive tour package is that it's typically cheaper and you'll know how much your trip cost before you leave as long as you stick to the inclusive services.
2. Set up automatic payments
When you're away, you still have bills to pay, which might include utilities, cable, telephone, credit card and loan. It's better to automate these payments because it helps you pay bills on time and fulfill your financial duties while you're thousands of miles away from home.Though you can also pay them online during your trip, you don't always get good internet connection and you may also forget their due dates.
3. Get some foreign cash before you leave
As soon as you step off your airplane, you'll probably need some cash in the local currency for a cab, a meal or public transportation. Having some local cash beforehand saves you time to seek out an ATM in the airport. If you're visiting some developing countries, chances are that there are no ATMs at the airport or even if there are, there's no guarantee that they will be working.
Before you leave, you can get some foreign cash by ordering from your own local bank with a few days' notice. You can also exchange some foreign money at the exchange bureau of international airports or large banks in your home country.
4. Tell your credit card companies about your travel plan
Before you head to your dream destination, it's important that you let your credit card companies know where you'll be traveling and your dates of travel so that they won't freeze your card when they detect unusual activity. Also, ask for the number that you can get assistance while you're abroad. Some credit card companies do not allow card usage abroad unless the cardholder request it, so you'd better check with your card issuers whether you need an extra step to activate them for overseas usage.
5. Always take travel insurance
There's no doubt that travel insurance is indispensable for international travel. I can't agree more with the saying that if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. Unexpected incidents can occur during your trip: sickness, injuries, lost luggage, stolen wallet, cancelled flights, etc. sometimes you may also need to cancel or interrupt the trip before or during your travel. You'll find travel insurance invaluable when any of these things happens. Even if everything goes right, getting travel insurance gives you a peace of mind.
6. Use credit cards for purchases
While you should always keep some cash on hand while traveling, you should use credit card for the majority of your spending. This is because it makes international payments much easier, you don't have to deal with the hassle of converting currency, and it will help you get the lowest exchange fees possible (some cards don't charge any fee at all). Moreover, you'll be much less likely to be the target of pickpockets as credit cards are easier to hide. Even if your card is stolen, you will not lose a cent. Simply report it right away and your card issuer will remove any unauthorized charges on your account.
7. Keep valuables in different places to keep them safe
Just as you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, it’s unwise to put your cash, credit card, and other secure documents in the same place or once stolen, you lose all. Thus wherever possible, put them in multiple safe spots such as your money belt or pouch, and in-room safe that most hotels offers (just remember to empty it when you check out).
8. Stay safe online
During your vacation, you may want to check your credit card statements or manage other personal finance chores online. Avoid accessing these sites while traveling especially when using a public computer at the hotel or internet café. If you do have to, make sure you sign out of every secure site and close the browser window after you've finished so that no one can access them with the browser's history menu. In addition, you may be tempted to use free WiFi in public places like airports, coffee shops, malls and hotel lobbies. In this case, you need to make sure that it is a safe connection before you use it.
Hope these money management tips would be useful to you when you are planning a trip abroad. If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with your friends who might also find it helpful. Our travel specialists take your safe travel seriously and whenever you have a plan to travel abroad, you can contact one of them to tailor-make a private tour around your needs and budget.