This is a guest post by Karen Elseworth, a writer for Oz Forex.
Travelling abroad can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also be rather expensive. If you don’t plan ahead, you could find yourself spending more than you intended to. The following five tips will help you enjoy your upcoming trip without breaking the bank.
1. Save on currency conversion
Using your debit card at local ATMs may be a good way to save money when travelling abroad, but make sure to check your bank’s rates before you do this, as you may be charged per withdrawal. Whatever you do, don’t exchange your money at airports as they are known for their outrageous exchange rates. If you want to bring cash, either exchange it at home, or find a local currency exchange office in the city you are visiting.
2. Do your shopping abroad
Before going abroad, many people stock up on things like sunscreen, toiletries, flip-flops and new outfits, without stopping to think that these things are readily available at their destination as well. Aside from the fact that you are unnecessarily overloading your baggage, these things are often cheaper abroad, and you will probably end up buying new clothes and shoes while abroad anyway. This could cause your bags to be overweight on your trip home, and we all know how much airports love to overcharge for excess baggage.
3. Choose your hotels wisely
While travelling abroad, staying at hostels that offer dorm rooms can save you more than half of what you would normally spend on hotels. If you prefer a bit more privacy, many hotels abroad have the option of private rooms with shared bathrooms. If you think about it, it’s not really worth paying twice the price just to avoid walking across the hall to use the shower or toilet.
4. Save on transport
Do a bit of research on your destination before you arrive in order to find out what the cheapest mode of transport is. Taxis are generally the most expensive mode of transport in any country, and you could easily spend half your budget on taxis if you aren’t careful. In most countries, public transport is fairly affordable and also allows you to explore more of the city you are visiting. In some places like Amsterdam and Paris, you can even rent a bicycle and cycle through the city, which will cost you next to nothing and give you a chance to experience the city first hand.
5. Stay off the beaten path
It goes without saying that every destination and city has its tourist traps. Unless you really want to see a particular historical site or building, steer clear of popular tourist sites and ask locals for advice on what you should see and do. Most places designed for tourists do not portray an accurate picture of the place you are visiting, and you will end up spending far more than is reasonable on meals, guides and transport.
When travelling outside of Australia, it is important to keep in mind that even though you are trying to save money, you should never be frugal with your travel insurance. No one plans for accidents to happen, but unfortunately they do. It is simply not worth taking a risk just to save a few hundred dollars. The common advice given is that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel at all.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.