Dollars & Sense: Using Your Money Abroad
By the time you're ready to head out on your journey, you've spent a decent amount of money on your flight and hotel; but how much should you bring with you to spend? And should you rely on your credit cards or exchange cash before you leave? Unless you're headed to an all-inclusive resort, you'll need to figure out an approximate amount of money to budget for to eat, get around, do activities, do some shopping and in case of emergencies. It's always good to have much more than you need, so knowing how to plan so you can provide yourself with a healthy cushion is important. These amounts will vary widely depending where you
go, and the types of activities you plan to partake in. In much of South East Asia, meals can be had for less than $10 USD per day from a variety of local restaurants and street vendors whereas eating in Italy can cost upwards of $150 daily to indulge in some of the country's best establishments. Use an online budgeting tool like BudgetYourTrip
to find accurate estimates of how much you'll need for your daily expenses breaking down food, entertainment, public transportation and more.
Notify your bank beforehand that you'll be travelling so they don't think suspicious activity is going on in your account if you'll be withdrawing funds from the ATM. Unless you're going to a very rural or remote location, you should have no issues using a combination of cash, credit, or debit (depending on where you are.) It's never a good idea to carry one lump sum of cash during your trip, for obvious reasons, but exchanging a portion of your cash before you go will be helpful when you first land in your new destination. A good substitute to carrying a large amount of cash is to go with a prepaid travel card offered by many financial institutions; allowing you to load it with money from your account. Double check the terms and conditions of the card for usage fees that may be a little higher than a regular credit or debit card; and be aware that some hotels and car rental companies may not accept this method of payment. Because of that, you may want to bring another major credit card as backup funds in case of emergencies, so you're prepared for anything.
After your trip, be sure to keep as many receipts as you can, not only to provide an accurate value of items you purchased and will be returning with; but to cross-reference with your bank or credit card statements once you return. In a flurry of big and small purchases during your trip, it would be easy to miss an unauthorized charge that went through around the same time.
All in all, budgeting wisely and keeping track of your funds is a vital aspect of keeping your trip entertaining and stress-free; so do a bit of research and plan accordingly. Happy Travels!
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