International travel has grown significantly in the last few decades. While some people go overseas for pleasure, some others cross borders because of business. In any case, expenses are part of the picture. If you plan to travel overseas and want to make the most of your money, you’ll have to start planning even before you depart.
Estimate Your Expenses
The first step is to establish how much your entire trip might end up costing. Factors you need to consider include airfare, local transport, accommodation, eating out, and any other expense you might expect. Once you have an estimate in hand, you get a fair idea of how much money you may spend without breaking the bank.
Consider this – you’ve landed at your destination only to find that your luggage is missing. Alternatively, you fall ill early into your trip and need hospitalization. Without suitable travel insurance, you may end up spending a tidy sum. However, if you have the right kind of travel insurance you get cover against missed and delayed flights, lost and misplaced baggage, as well as medical expenses.
Inform Your Banks
If you plan to use your debit or credit cards when overseas, it is important that you inform their issuing banks in advance. This is because financial institutions tend to block cards if they suspect fraudulent transactions. If your bank does not know about your travel plans, it might consider international transactions to be fraudulent and end up blocking your card. With a blocked card, you’ll be unable to access your own money.
Exchange Currencies Before Leaving
You get the ability to exchange currencies at just about every international airport and most popular tourist destinations. However, when you exchange currencies at such places, expect to get a less-than-favorable exchange rate, and you might also have to pay steep fees. You are better off getting currency exchanged before you leave your home country, and there are several companies that specialize in offering travel money solutions.
Keep Enough Cash
While some countries have done well in going near cashless, there are others are still rely heavily on the use of cash. For instance, if you travel to rural areas in countries such as India and China, you will notice that only a limited number of businesses accept card payments. Besides, having enough cash to pay for small purchases is never out of place.
Make Payments in Advance
If you make payments for your travel in advance, you don’t have to worry about getting unfavorable exchange rates or paying steep fees in a foreign country. Consider paying for your hotel stay ahead of time and do the same if you plan to rent a car. While you get to choose from different money transfer companies, you’ll need to select one according to where you live. For instance, if you compare Remitly and TransferWise, you’ll notice that the latter has a much wider reach. Some of the other top players include OFX, CurrencyFair, and HiFX.
While using multicurrency cards might seem beneficial, bear in mind that they tend to come with fees in different forms. For example, you may need to pay activation fees, ATM fees, loading fees, and even inactivity fees. If you plan to use a credit card, look for one that does not attract overseas transaction fees. If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, use your debit card instead of your credit card because using the latter requires that you pay a cash advance fee as well as interest.
What Else Can You Do?
These factors also need your attention if you wish to make the most of your money when traveling overseas:
- Learn about dynamic currency conversion and avoid it
- Keep one or two spare debit or credit cards
- Determine what kinds of fees different transactions attract
- Reconsider taking expensive items with you
- Use public transport where possible
- Use an international calling card
Expenses are part of the parcel when you travel overseas, although you can take measures to make the most of your money. Other than looking for discounts and offers, following a few simple steps might lead to noticeable savings. Besides, you’ll have a relatively trouble-free trip too.
Affiliate Disclosure: The article above contains affiliate links and we may receive a small compensation if you sign up using our links. Click here to read more about how we make money.