Although there are some ways to travel for free, such as Couchsurfing and WWOOFing, you’ll still need money for your trip around the world to pay for your plane and bus tickets, hostel bed, food and other expenses. The more money you can save and the better you are at managing it, the longer you’ll be able to stay on the road and the more places you’ll see.
So how can you manage your money more effectively when you’re on the road? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Do Your Research on Bank Fees Before You Leave
When you are using an ATM in a foreign country, many banks will charge you a withdrawal fee. Some fees are reasonable, while others are surprisingly high. These charges really do add up when you’re traveling for a long time, so before you leave, make sure you find out exactly how much your bank is going to charge you for every withdrawal.
If the amount is high, you might consider switching to a bank with lower fees. Some banks even offer accounts that don’t charge for international withdrawals. Finding out this information before you leave is better, because it’ll be a lot easier to make the switch to a different bank if you’re still in your home country.
It’s a good idea to let your bank know you’ll be going away. Otherwise, when you start making transactions in other countries, they might flag your account for fraud and block your card. Also, make sure that you have your bank’s phone number available so you can call them if you ever need to resolve an issue.
Travel With a Credit Card
There are a lot of advantages to traveling with a credit card. You’ll have a record of all of your purchases and you won’t have to carry a lot of cash around on your person. If your card is stolen, you won’t be liable to pay for any fraudulent purchases that are made. Also, traveling with a credit card is necessary for booking plane tickets, renting a car, reserving accommodations and making online purchases.
When you’re choosing a credit card to take with you abroad, make sure you research the currency conversion fees to make sure you’re getting a good rate.
Of course, a credit card won’t be suitable for all of your transactions, and you’ll still need to have cash in many situations. The little old lady on the street corner in Vietnam serving up delicious bowls of steaming Pho won’t be able to accept a credit card!
Avoid converting cash at a currency exchange booth at the airport, as they don’t usually offer very good currency rates. Also, usually locals who offer to exchange your money for you aren’t going to give you a good rate. Instead, look for a local bank further away from the airport.
Do not carry your cash or your wallet in your back pocket, as it’s much more vulnerable to pick-pockets. Carry it in the front pocket of your pants and be aware of it, especially in crowded areas. It is good practice to only take the amount of cash you need for the day and leave the rest of your money securely locked in the locker at your hostel.