When it comes to travel planning there is no way around it: you do not only need to budget your next trip, but also think about other money-related matters. There is nothing worse than having to stress about money issues during your travels. So, here are my experiences and tips to handle money while traveling abroad.
Inform yourself. First things first: information is key! Look up what currency your destination uses and how it converts to your home country’s currency. You can use this website, which also comes as an app. Luckily when you travel in Europe, you don’t always have to worry about currencies: 19 countries use already the Euro.
Ask locals. It is no secret that locals know their city better than anyone else. When I travel to a bigger city, I always make sure to ask a local for the best currency rates. A lot of the times the rates can vary. Usually, you get more for your money at an exchange office that is not near the tourist attractions.
Consider longterm solutions. For example, if you study abroad or you stay longer in a country, it may pay off to have a credit or debit card, that you could specifically use in this country. When I was living in the US, I had a debit card from a German bank with that I was able to withdraw money from an ATM for free. Look up what possibilities you have and don’t forget to think about transaction fees.
Book things beforehand. If you have the chance, you could book things in ahead. This makes especially sense for bigger expenses like your hotel room or transportation. You will be able to enjoy your travels more, when you don’t have to take care of such expenses during your journey.
Don’t forget to inform your bank! Unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way during my last trip to London. I went on a shopping spree (what else could a girl do on a rainy day in this city?) and when I wanted to pay with my card I was not able to do. I thought: “No problem, I just go to the next ATM and get some cash.” Well, it turned out that the ATM would give me no money. My bank blocked my card due to suspicious fraud. So, remember to call your bank or mail them about your travel plans, so that you can spend your money when you want it. PS: I was still able to finish my shopping!
Always have some cash with you. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but just some coins for tipping in a restaurant, for a bus ticket or in some case of emergency. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.
Keep your cash safe. If you’re traveling with a lot of cash, try not to carry everything in only one place due to theft. Try to divide your cash into different places and be extra aware in near typical tourist attractions and at busy places like train stations. I remember arriving in Rome and getting my purse nearly stolen. Thankfully, I noticed it quickly.
What are your tips for handling money while traveling? I would love to hear your advice!