If you plan to head abroad any time soon, then it makes perfect sense that you want your money to go as far as it possibly can in the process. Nobody likes to head out travelling with limitations on what they can and cannot do while they’re out and about. Some strict financial planning and a healthy dose of common sense can come together to ensure that you get the very best out of the upcoming trip. Our tips below span key ideas and methods before and during the trip to ensure that your money continues to work for you, and they ensure that your finances are every bit as healthy while out of the country as in it.
1. Stick to a Budget
We have mentioned budgeting on numerous occasions throughout our tips here on the site, and leaving the country to enjoy yourself is no reason to get out of the habit. If you are used to budgeting at home, with various chunks of your wages heading off in different directions, then it is simple to extend the thought process into your journey. At the very least, you should work out how much you have available for the entire trip and split it into a daily budget. If you prefer, you can drill down even deeper and set aside certain amounts for food, entertainment and anything else you want to take in while you’re away.
2. Take Advantage of Any and All Offers
Promotional tactics do not end just because you’re in a different country, and there are always bargains to be had no matter where you find yourself. Even if you lack the local knowledge to get hold of coupons and discounts before you travel, you can plan around rewards and bonuses on items you already have. Credit cards that award cashback or air miles are obvious candidates, but it can also make sense to save money where you can, such as on credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
3. Inform Your Bank that You’re Heading Abroad
The move from cash to cards has made it more flexible than ever to spend money as and where you see fit, but it also increases security concerns. Protection against loss and fraud at banks has increased in line with this, and foreign transactions are an immediate red flag. Blocks are often instant and automatic, and generally require a phone call to remove. If you do not feel you will be in a position to contact the bank, let them know in advance that you’ll be abroad so that you’re not without your main cards at a crucial moment.
4. Don’t Overlook Travel Insurance
The spirit of this article does not involve increasing how much you spend in general, but we consider travel insurance to be worthy enough to be an essential inclusion. You might already have it through your bank or another policy, but it is the best way to ensure you’re protected in case anything goes wrong.
5. Explore Additional Perks on Your Cards
With so many credit and debit cards out there, they differentiate themselves by offering alternative services and options. You should take full advantage. Some cards allow you to lock in the exchange rate on a certain date, so you know what you’re spending and when, while others are designed specifically for use abroad. See which options benefit you most and maximise their usefulness for the duration of the journey.
6. Don’t Stick to the First Option when Converting Cash
The nature of foreign exchange transactions for individuals means that you’re paying for the service somewhere along the line, so it is essential to pay as little as you possibly can. Exchanging cash at the airport is generally a massive no-no due to high fees and low rates, and you may well be better off waiting until you arrive at your destination to make the exchange if this is your last local opportunity to change your money.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Loans
Taking out credit is often a bad idea in terms of overall financial management, but we have to consider that the upcoming trip may well be the journey of a lifetime. There is no need to tighten your belt so much that you miss out on experiences that you may never get the chance to enjoy again, and if a loan makes sense and you can afford it once you get back, we say to go for it.
8. Don’t Ignore Cash Completely
At home, you may well have switched completely to electronic payments, to the point that you’ve virtually forgotten what banknotes look like. However, what is customary in your home country may not be the same elsewhere, so ensure that you’re always covered for incidental expenses on occasions where a certain merchant does not accept cards or where the service is unavailable. You generally do not want to carry large amounts of cash, but a few local notes can go a long way and are easily replaced.
9. Ensure Your Domestic Finances are In Order
Just because you’re out of the country, that doesn’t mean that your bills at home will wait for you to return. Keep a close eye on what might leave your account while you’re away and budget accordingly so that you’re not left short while away and don’t return to several late payment fees or anything else that might get in the way of secure financial planning.
10. Review Your Travel Expenses
Once you’re back home, the chances are that you cannot go back and change anything you spent while you were away. However, in looking into what you spent, where and why, you can get a good idea of where your money went and use that information when you plan your next trip. If you found yourself spending frivolously or not saving enough, that is handy info to have next time a travel budget is required.