Going travelling is one of the great rites of passage. Jetting off to some far flung corner of the earth to explore other cultures and meet new people is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life.
Many people wait until the financially crippling life of a student has finished before embarking on such adventures but this doesn’t mean that you have to wait until after graduation to do it. If your savvy, you can make your finances go a long way.
We have put together a few pointers to help you get the most out of your cash while jet setting across the world.
Be smart with booking flights.
Never go the first deal you see. Websites like Skyscanner provide an overview of all the leading airlines so you can see clearly who has the best deal. Sometimes flying at unsociable hours and having to change planes can save you hundreds of pounds so if you’re a bit skint then it definitely worth considering. You also want to make sure you don’t get any unnecessary add-ons; flight insurance might seems tempting but if you get the right travel insurance you won’t need it, which brings us nicely to our next point.
Although it might seem like getting a good travel insurance policy is an extra expense, it an absolute must if you are travelling. The money you will spend on insuring yourself against theft, injury or illness will pale in significance compared with the cost of replacing expensive items or being in hospital. If you fall ill or are injured, as a Westerner, many hospital staff will place you in the most expensive room they have as they assume you will have money. If you are staying overnight this can rack up to hundreds or even thousands of pounds! A good policy means that you are covered for all the places that you are going as well as the activities that are doing. Certain policies will cover different things though, so make sure you get the one that means your safe.
Bring the right card/s.
Many cards charge extortionate rates for withdrawing money or making transactions overseas so, before going away, make sure you have checked which charges you are likely to incur with your card issuer. Debit cards are typically cheaper to use than most credit cards, so its usually advisable to stick with the card attached to your current account. Another good idea is a to get pre-paid holiday card. Many of these don’t charge for any foreign transactions and act as a good backup should you lose your other card(s). Pre-paid cards also often a safe bet as they can only be used to withdraw cash or spend money you’ve already loaded on, limiting the amount you lose should the card or its details be stolen.
Get a job.
Getting a job while you’re travelling might seem it defeats the point of going away but it can make your holiday go a lot further. Many bars and hostels are always on the lookout for travellers looking to work for a couple of weeks and most will provide a small allowance with free board, food and drinks. Although it might technically be work, selling piña coladas at a beach bar might be the most fun you have while your away.
Eat the local food.
One of the great delights of being in a foreign country is trying the local cuisine and for the first portion of your trip it will probably make up the majority of your meals. After being away for a significant portion of time however the craving for home comforts becomes stronger and the pizzas, burgers and pastas that one has become accustomed to begin to stand out on the menu. Although there is nothing wrong with this once in a while, you will generally be paying through the nose if it becomes habitual as many eateries will know they can charge more dishes catering specifically to tourists.
It may be tempting while away to pay the asking price for whatever it is you want to purchase, while this is true of certain things there are many instances where haggling can save you money. Taxis and market stalls are great places to haggle, as initial prices will generally be inflated. Although it may seems like you are only saving small amounts each time these can add up and over the course of a few months you will find yourself a little better off.
Chat to the locals.
Throughout your travels you will find yourself in many touristy places and these will, almost without exception, be the most expensive. No one knows the landscape of an area better than the locals and if you engage with them and ask them nicely, they may let you in on some great places that other tourists don’t know about. If you can find the bars and restaurants that aren’t mobbed with tourists not only will you find everything cheaper, but you will also have an opportunity to experience the local culture in all its glory.
Keep your wits about you.
The vast majority of places you visit will be warm and welcoming. However, as with anywhere you will find locations where there will be people looking to take advantage of travellers. To minimise the risk of losing something, make sure you keep your valuables (phone, camera, passport) either on your person or in a safe at your hostel/hotel. Secondly, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Many places will have problems with pick pockets, so having a bag you can keep close to your person or zipped pockets will help reduce your chances of losing something important and then having to replace it.