MANILA, Philippines – The hardest part about traveling the world is finding the means to do it.
Or, if you do have the resources, it’s finding ways to keep your spending in control.
But we’re not interrupting your reverie – traveling is now more convenient and affordable than ever, so there’s no reason for you not to escape your daily drivel and fill your life with adventures, new sights, new friends, and new experiences. But to fulfill all these, you’ve got to be prepared.
Aside from your daily itinerary, maps and routes, and your #OOTD pack list, you should also plan ahead on how you’ll spend on your trip. You don’t have to be a cheapskate when you travel, but you don’t have to be an exorbitant splurger, either.
On your next bout of wanderlust, spend wisely. Here are some reminders to ensure a worry-free trip:
Booking flights, accommodations
- If your travel time is flexible, check for the most affordable options. Flights tend to be cheaper on weekdays and on late nights/early mornings.
- Mix and match your flights. To get the best deals, you don’t have to arrive and depart on the same airport – or the same airline.
- If you’re only going for a short trip, skip the extra baggage fee. Try to bring only what will fit into your carry-on luggage and bag.
- Save money by bringing your own food for flights. Pack your meal or buy from the airport restaurants after check-in.
- When possible, book your hotel room directly via the hotel. But also check rates from online travel sites and your friendly travel agency. The rates vary and you might just be able to avail of a special promo rate. To save further, try hostels or other accommodation options.
- Using cards (debit or credit) can be more secure than carrying cold cash. Just bear in mind that your bank may charge you fees for overseas transactions, so factor this in when computing for purchases against your budget.
- Before departure, double-check with your bank if your card/s are accepted in your destination. Majority of credit cards issued by reputable local banks have wide international coverage, but it pays to be sure.
- Regardless of transaction amounts, it’s best to call your bank before leaving and spending on an extended overseas trip to avoid getting your transactions flagged. Save your bank’s international toll-free number handy to cancel a transaction / report theft immediately.
- If available, ask to charge your card in the local currency to take advantage of lower exchange rates.
- Not all establishments will accept cards, so always have cash readily available as back-up. Just in case!
- Bear in mind that cash is always easier to lose; either through thieves or spending your entire budget. The safest option is to have some cash on hand and a credit card.
- Avoid exchanging your currency at the airport, where exchange rates will be to your disadvantage. If you arrive from a red-eye flight, the Forex booth might be closed.
- Consider withdrawing from an ATM at your destination. Exchange rates via global banking networks are generally better than those at airports or Forex stores.
- NEVER store your entire travel budget in one place, such as your wallet. Leave some at the hotel safe, and keep them in different places. Better to be safe than broke and sorry.
- Draft a budget and stick to it. Take note of all your credit card transactions – from your hotel reservations, meals and planned big-ticket purchases (such as gadgets) to avoid a huge bill shock when you come back home.
- Before you head out, Google and jot down the area’s police and emergency assistance numbers. Keep these handy and near at all times.
- Avoid withdrawing from stand-alone ATMs in shady locations. That’s something they discourage here, so don’t do it abroad either.
- Don’t log in to your bank accounts using public Wi-Fi connections and Internet cafes.
- Got extra currency on your last day? Don’t convert them back to dollars – you’ll spend more in exchanging them back and essentially lose money. Budget ahead to avoid this or keep it to a minimum, or better yet, save the currency for your next trip.
- Find out if your destination offers a tax refund for tourist purchases. This can earn you back a sizeable sum, so take advantage!
Plan ahead for emergencies, arm yourself with these reminders, and you don’t have to be anxious throughout your trip. Got your own travel-related money tips? Share them with us! – Rappler.com
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