You’ve been scrimping and generally stashing away every spare penny you can – in fact, your current balance has never looked so healthy. But why? In preparation for your next vacation of course.
Whether you’ve got your bags packed for a multi-country adventure around Eastern Europe, a fly-in fly-out weekend in Copenhagen, or for the next location on your 2018 travel bucket list, these four tips will help ensure that all the hard work you’ve put into saving translates to more money to spend while you’re away.
1. Book your essentials ahead of time
If you have the time to plan ahead for your next overseas adventure, not only will booking early likely save you some serious cash, it could also prove the motivation you need to keep putting money away.
When it comes to organising flights, accomodation and activities like tours or performances, the general rule is that the earlier you can book the better – especially if you can take advantage of any sales or discounts that happen throughout the year. Also many attractions have discounts for booking online, so make sure you check websites ahead of your planned visit.
Having said that, if your travel schedule is a bit more relaxed and you’re happy to fly on a whim or keep your options open when it comes to where you stay, you might be able to grab a last minute deal which is even better value – though booking late isn’t without its risks.
2. Choose the right travel money option
Chances are if you’ve travelled abroad, you’re not going to want to sit on your hands all day in a hotel – so to eat, drink, shop and generally soak up the atmosphere wherever you go, you’re going to need an appropriate travel money option.
While you will be able to use your regular UK bank cards overseas, depending on your situation, a prepaid travel card could be the most convenient and cost effective option for you. With the ability to load up with euros, dollars, or even multiple currencies, a prepaid travel card can often be a cheaper alternative to your typical debit or ATM card as many don’t charge a foreign exchange fee on purchases or a fee to withdraw cash.
Speaking of cash, it’s never a bad idea to have some local currency on you as well. It pays to be organised when it comes to getting the most value for your money on currency, especially if you have the time to watch the market until your desired currency hits a rate you’re happy with. Whatever you do, avoid the hassle and (considerable) markups of using a credit card to withdraw money from a foreign atm, or buying your currency at the airport!
Another trap to watch if you do use your credit card abroad is dynamic currency conversion. Many retailers will offer you the choice of either paying in local currency or pounds sterling, so it’s generally better to go for the local currency as you’ll get a poorer exchange rate if you opt for them to handle the currency conversion.
3. Live like a local
Let’s be honest, the same old tours and tourist traps can begin to get tiresome after a while – not to mention heavy on your pocket. That’s why keeping it simple by eating, drinking and generally living like a local can be a great way to re-energise if you’re on a longer holiday, or if you just want to stretch out your holiday budget further.
Whether you grab fresh bread and olives at a local market in Rome instead of going to a restaurant, or grab your morning coffee in a stand-up cafe in Paris instead of a coffeehouse, adopting the mantra ‘do as the locals do’ could be great for your soul (and wallet).
4. Don’t pay twice for your travel insurance
Getting the most value for your travel money doesn’t just apply to the money you spend, it also means ensuring you’re not going to have to fork out more than you need to if something goes awry while you’re abroad.
That’s why taking out an appropriate level of travel insurance can be a smart option to cover yourself while overseas – especially when many policies can be taken out for a fraction of the cost of a flight and accommodation costs.
What many travellers may not know though, is that a number of premium credit cards and bank accounts actually offer complimentary travel insurance. So to avoid paying for travel insurance you may already have, it could be worthwhile contacting your bank or card provider. Just remember to check the fine print to ensure that it covers you for exactly what you need.