Whether you’re celebrating a milestone, travelling for work, taking some time off to explore the world, or just checking a trip off your bucket list, preparing for an international expedition can be both exciting and a bit stressful for even the most seasoned traveller. After all, you’ve just invested a great amount of time, money and energy into planning your adventure.
Keeping your finances in order while travelling internationally is important to ensure you’re safe, prepared and stress-free during your trip. Consider the following finance tips for your next overseas venture:
Get creative with your accommodations
If you’re looking for easy ways to save a few bucks while travelling, look into alternative accommodation options, such as hotels, Airbnbs, hostels and villas. You can often find a place to stay at a lower rate if you’re willing to get a little adventurous. Depending on your destination, it could add to your experience as well! Staying in a local village or pitching a tent to camp outdoors can offer you a rustic, authentic setting while also saving you money.
Shop for the best exchange rate
When travelling internationally, you not only have to consider how much money you’re spending, but you also have to think about how you will exchange currency. You have three primary options: converting cash at a domestic bank before you leave, using a credit card, which converts your currency automatically with each purchase, or utilizing a currency exchange system, often found in airports or visitor centers. Before you decide, shop around and see which option has the best exchange rate and fees attached. You can save quite a bit of money with a little bit of research.
Look into different credit card options
According to some studies, those who travel internationally can save up to 15 percent by using a credit card with a major worldwide credit network, which automatically offers the best exchange rate. If you decide to go this route, it may even be worth looking into specific credit card options. Some credit cards have additional travel benefits as well, such as airline miles or no-foreign-fee policies. Also, if you get a travel card before booking your flight, hotel or activities, you can avoid a few other fees as well.
Carry cash when you can
Even if you opt for a credit card with travel benefits, there will always be situations in which cash on-hand is the most cost-effective option. If you exchange some cash before leaving, you’ll be able to make small purchases along your journey hassle-free, rather than splurging on transaction fees for a bottle of water or a quick lunch. This will also help you avoid getting stuck without access to funds for cash-only transactions, like transportation fare.
Secure travel insurance
Before you take off, be sure you’ve checked with your insurance company to confirm whether your trip is covered under travel insurance. If you have a medical condition, it’s especially important to make sure you know which facilities and treatments are covered under your network while travelling. Some employer-provided health insurance and Medigap plans offer foreign travel emergency health care coverage, but if your benefits do not extend to treatment or office visits abroad, it may be worth looking into purchasing some travel insurance while you’re away. While it is an up-front expense, it can save you a lot of money in the long run and can assure that you have access to the care you need wherever you go.
Get an international phone card
Finally, if you’ll be gone for any extended period of time, you can save money with a prepaid international phone card. Not only do we want to stay in touch with our loved ones back home; it’s also good to have the option to have contact in case of an emergency. An international phone card is especially helpful to have on hand if you don’t have international calling as a part of your phone plan and don’t want to pay additional fees while overseas.
International travel is exhilarating, and your finances should not stand in your way from experiencing the world. With a little preparation, you’ll have everything you need to travel overseas within your budget.
James Donaldson is a health and lifestyle writer. He is an avid diver and loves travelling to various diving locations around the world. His favourite place to dive is in Bonaire.