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Are you about to embark on an international trip? Whether you’re a younger traveller or a seasoned explorer, planning a trip can always be such an exciting time. Just think about all the sights you’ll see, the new foods you’ll taste, adventures you’ll experience, and cultures you will be able to immerse yourself in. There’s nothing quite like the thrill that international travel provides. You will create memories that will last the rest of your life. And, you’ll likely make some lasting friendships along the way too.
Unfortunately though, as of yet, travelling isn’t free. You need to be careful with your holiday budgets in order to make them last for the duration of your journey, especially if you’re not planning to find employment along the way. In this helpful article, we’ll share our top money management tips to follow when travelling the world. Read on to discover how to stretch your dollars when journeying internationally.
Buy Currency Before Departing
There’s one step that you should take before planning any kind of international trip. You’ll want to buy foreign currency before you catch the first flight out of your departure point. There are a few reasons for this. For one, you can spend some time studying the exchange rates and securing foreign money at a time when it will be most favourable to you. Secondly, currency exchange fees are generally higher at airports or in other countries. With this in consideration, it becomes clear that you can save on these higher costs if you purchase foreign currency at home prior to arriving at the airport. Buying cash before departing also means that you’ll have one less thing to stress about as you’re navigating all the stresses of navigating airports! It’s really a win-win.
Stay in Budget Accommodation
One way to stretch your budget when travelling the world is to stay in budget accommodation. Backpacker hostels are the cheapest, especially if you share a dorm room with other travellers. Unlike hotels, backpacker hostels allow you to share accommodation with other fellow travellers, allowing you to save heaps of money by foregoing luxury hotel expenses like room service, maid or butler services, and inclusive toiletries like towels, robes, soaps, and hair care products.
If you don’t really foresee a need for these luxury inclusions, you’ll find that backpacker hostels provide all the comfortable necessities you’ll need, as well as greater opportunities to socialise with fellow travellers or perhaps even locals that may be travelling domestically. This way, the money you save on accommodation can be put towards more fun activities, like tours, transportation, food and drinks, souvenirs, and more.
Cook Your Meals at the Hostel
Although you may be keen to ‘eat like the locals’ wherever possible, eating out is also sadly a surefire way to burn a hole in your pocket when travelling. You’ll save significant amounts by buying food at the local supermarket, deli, grocery store or market and cooking your meals at your hostel. Plus, cooking your own meals can also give you the opportunity to sample local produce and meat, and ultimately actually be eating like a local would rather than just relying on fast dining options.
Travel Out of Season
The best thing that you can do to conserve money when travelling is simply to travel out of peak seasonal periods. Travelling out of season can save a truly surprising amount of money as you avoid the markups and extra charges businesses tend to whack on during the region’s preferred tourist seasons. Flights also tend to cost more in holiday periods, so if you time the purchase of your airline tickets, you can save a decent amount.
For instance, you could visit a popular summer destination such as the Greek Islands in autumn or spring. By doing so, you can still enjoy great weather at your destination whilst also being able to enjoy stellar savings. Travelling out of season can also help you beat the crowds in a major way. So you won’t have to worry as much about random tourists crowding around you in all your travel photos!
Pack Smart & Pack Strategically
One of the most effective ways to conserve your budget when travelling is simply by ensuring you’ve packed a full wardrobe. This isn’t to say that you should take your entire home wardrobe abroad with you, but more that your holiday clothes should still include a little something for all expected weather conditions. Decent clothes can be expensive, so you’ll be sure to save lots by packing a full wardrobe. For instance, packing a couple of pairs of shoes and a winter coat is always a great idea, as you’ll never know when the weather may take a turn for the worse.
Packing smart can also include opting for digital alternatives to traditionally bulky items. For instance, if you’re an avid reader, buy a Kindle and load it up with books so you don’t weigh down your bag with reading material. By packing an eReader over books and a tablet over a bulkier laptop, you can use the free space in your luggage for more clothes or other supplies, or perhaps even as space to include all the souvenirs or other goodies you’d like to bring back home with you.
Travel Mid-Week When Country Hopping
When looking to travel from country to country, you’ll find that booking a Tuesday or Wednesday flight may likely generate more savings than booking your flights to fall on a weekend. The reason for this is that weekend flights are often charged at a premium rate, because most people who travel for business are more likely to book flights on a weekend date.
But believe it or not, there are more benefits to booking mid-week flights as well, namely that airports are also likely to be less crowded. By opting for flights that are scheduled for the middle of the week, you’ll not only be saving some serious money on your flights but will also be able to cruise through customs and the airport, as fewer people travel mid-week, ultimately resulting in fewer crowds between terminals.
Avoid Taxis and Ride-Share Services
Using taxis and Uber or other ride-share apps to get around will rapidly chew through your budget when travelling. Not to mention that private transportation can also greatly limit the number of opportunities you may have to get up close and personal with your destination, and really experience it all through the eyes of a local.
Instead of footing the disproportionately high expenses that come with ride-share services, you should opt to catch local public transport instead. Taking advantage of public transport networks (whether they be buses, trams or trains), can not only help you save big bucks, but may even allow you to see the streets of your host city in ways you may not have been able to from the isolated backseat of an Uber.
That being said, we understand that sometimes ride-share services can be a genuine godsend, especially if you’re running late to catch a flight or may be travelling with a large amount of bags. So you should feel free to hire a car when you need to, just so long as you’re not using this option at every opportunity. If you need to use a taxi or an Uber, try only doing so when no public transit is available, such as late at night, or when you’re in a time-sensitive circumstance, such as heading to the airport to catch an early morning flight.
Travel Off The Beaten Path
It’s a given that highly popular tourist destinations tend to be accompanied by premium prices, whether these be the costs of flights, accommodation, or even generally the cost of living at that location. But you don’t have to go to Rome to see what it’s like to live in Italy. You could go to Verona, Venice, or any of the Italian islands to get an equally authentic taste of Italia.
This brings us to our next budget-friendly travel tip, namely that less popular tourist destinations tend to be comparatively cheaper than more popular ones. Another example here for all you Euro lovers, is that Eastern Europe is much cheaper to travel around than other high-profile countries France, Spain or Italy. So instead of spending your summer in Spain, you could visit Bulgaria, Romania or other surrounding countries during the summer months instead, and have an excellent European summer getaway for a fraction of the cost.
A Budget Savvy Summary
In this helpful blog, we’ve shared our top money management tips to follow when travelling the world, ranging from packing smart and strategically and staying in hostels over hotels, to picking your flights conscientiously and doing your best to secure all your foreign currency prior to stepping foot in the airport.
Following all the advice we’ve outlined above, you’ll be sure to pocket some serious savings, which you can then put towards excellent experiences, fun times and unforgettable activities that will be sure to enrich the entirety of your time abroad.