Organising travel money can cause a bit of a headache before you go away, while not arranging it in advance can create something of a panic. How much do you need? And can you do everything with a credit card these days? Here are some tips to help you get everything in order…
Create a budget
Work out the total amount you have to spend once any flights and accommodation have been taken out of the equation (if you’re travelling to lots of places, you’ll probably need to include accommodation in your budget). Work out the average amount you’ll have to spend each day or week on food, transport, toiletries etc, and make sure you’re up-to-date with the exchange rate. Then keep track of your spending as you go on a smartphone app like Money Dashboard.
Get bills sorted in advance
You don’t want to find unpleasant letters on your doorstep when you return, due to an unpaid bill you’d totally forgotten about. Instead, set up your automatic payments before you go and make sure there’s enough in your account to cover them. It’s also important to let your bank or credit card company know where and when you’re going, otherwise they might freeze your account when you start to use the card abroad, as this behaviour will look suspicious.
Take more than one card
It’s a good idea to take at least two cards with you when heading away, in case there’s an issue with one of your accounts. So long as you’ve informed the relevant companies where you’re going, there shouldn’t be any problems, but if there are, then you could find yourself in an unfamiliar place far from home with access to no money at all. Taking a debit and a credit card is a good idea, and maybe also a prepaid card, which is a top-up and go payment card.
Take local currency
While the majority of payments should be made by card (as you don’t want to be carrying large sums of money with you), you should always bring some local currency too. This is because not everywhere takes plastic and, should you find there’s a problem with your card, you’ll always have this cash to fall back on. Make sure you get hold of this in advance, as exchanging money at the airport will always be more expensive than doing so online beforehand. You can also see the latest exchange rate figures on the web, so you’ll know who’s offering you a good deal.
Gone are the days when you’d have to bring travellers’ cheques abroad with you to keep yourself funded while you’re away. Things are far easier today, but you still need to be organised to avoid panicky situations or being ripped off. And using a card, while having a bit of local cash stashed away just in case, will keep things stress-free so you can truly enjoy your adventure.