11 MONEY HACKS FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP OVERSEAS
Planning your next overseas adventure is a really exciting time. Where will you go? Who will you go with? How long will you travel for? How much money should you save? However, it can also be a little stressful – especially the pressure it can put on your bank balance. So I’ve pulled together 11 money hacks for your next trip overseas. These will make your travels stress free and memorable, for all the right reasons.
BEFORE YOU GO
Research, research, research
One of the best ways to save money before you go is to do as much research as possible – flights, accommodation and tours are three great places to start. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save if you dedicate time to researching a few hours every week. Plus, it’s also really exciting! I recommend subscribing to as many newsletters as you can because this is how brands let people know first when they have promotions, package deals and sales. I also highly recommend reading as many blogs as you can to read first hand experiences of people who have been to the same destinations as you want to go. Travel blogs are the perfect place to start, naturally, and some bloggers even create Travel Guides! Wink, wink.
Book your flights early
Book your flights as early as possible - the earlier the better. Fares are cheaper when you book early because the demand isn’t normally as high compared to booking closer to the departure date. Also fares are traditionally more expensive during peak travel periods, Christmas, Easter and School Holidays, so where possible, organise your travel plans on alternative dates.
Reduce your expenses
If you buy lunch every day, your savings will suffer. Consider a packed lunch instead. When I’ve been saving for a trip, I’ll bring something from home four days a week and buy something on Friday as a treat – this way I’m saving, but not missing out altogether! Also stop buying coffee (if you can) or try to cut back to one cup every couple of days. Consider limiting how often you dine out, and only buy clothes you really don’t need. I literally wear my clothes to death now, besides does anyone actually remember what they wore last week? By making these small changes, you’ll be blown away at the extra cash you’ll save.
Be prepared with your money
When I arrived at the airport in Vietnam last year, I completely forgot to buy Dong in Australia. My phone wasn’t working and my driver didn’t arrive. It was a little stressful but thankfully a kind Vietnamese man who spoke broken English saved the day and allowed me to use his phone to call the hotel and arrange a new transfer. In light of this experience, I highly encourage you carry a little cash on you wherever you travel.
Organise a cash card
Whilst I think it’s important to carry cash for those unexpected expenses when you travel, I do think it’s much safer to organise a multi-currency prepaid travel money card, such as Qantas Cash, for your everyday usage. It’s always best to travel with a backup and I highly recommend organising a Qantas Cash card before you go. The great thing about Qantas Cash is that you can either load one of 10 pre-loadable foreign currencies, or you can simply load Australian Dollars and withdraw money in the local currency from ATMs as soon as you land. Plus, it’s a prepaid card which means what you load is what you have to spend, so you’ll always know exactly how much you have to play with. It’s also accepted at millions of Mastercard locations worldwide so you’ll never be caught short. You can also manage your funds on the go, stay in control of your spending and can say farewell to bill shock – we’ve all been there before. And the best part? You’ll earn Qantas Points whenever you use Qantas Cash, which means you’ll also get closer to your next adventure. Because let’s be honest, when we’re on holidays, we’re always thinking about the next adventure.
Freeze your gym membership
There is nothing better than feeling fit and good about yourself on your travels, so I wouldn’t suggest quitting the gym to save money before a holiday. I would however advise you to let your gym know two months in advance (most gyms require one month’s notice in writing) that you’re going on a holiday and you’d like to freeze your membership until you get home. That way there’ll be more to spend on souvenirs, and less being spent on a gym membership you’re not using.
Do some extra work
If you’re really dedicated to saving before your trip, I highly recommend taking extra shifts at work, mowing your neighbours lawn, or selling your unwanted clothes and belongings at your local markets or via an online marketplace such as eBay or Gumtree. Not only will purging your wardrobe of clothes you don’t wear have a huge impact on your day to day life, you’ll also make some extra money for your trip.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Don’t feel like you need to eat in cafes and restaurants every day on your travels. Buy local – supermarkets, farmer’s markets and road side stalls have offered some of the most inexpensive, authentic foodie experiences on my travels. Just remember to withdraw cash using your Qantas Cash card as most farmer’s markets and roadside stalls only accept cash. I have also met some incredible locals who were happy to talk to me about their city and share a few “locals only” tips on what to see and do.
Always choose wi-fi
Using apps and maps on your mobile phone is life changing when travelling; I honestly have no idea how I got around Europe back in 2002! However, they tend to chew up data usage and can be more expensive than they’re worth. Save yourself money by purchasing a SIM card when you arrive and only using data when you need to. Or better yet, take advantage of the free wi-fi at your hotel or local café to look up directions and information, then screenshot what you need and use this as a reference.
Take free tours
One of the biggest expenses when travelling is tours – after three or four, they can really add up. As they can get expensive, why not investigate some free tours? If you’re in New York use Big Apple Greeters, if you’re in Paris use Paris Greeters. In London, entrance into Tate and other museums is free.
On the topic of big expenses whilst you travel, transport would easily come a close second. Buses, taxis, trains – especially in New York and London – can add up very, very quickly. The best way to explore a new destination and to save money (as well as get some exercise!) is to walk. Don’t jump on a bus, don’t catch a train, and don’t hail a taxi; grab a bottle of water and discover the ins and outs of a city by foot. Just make sure you wear a pair of comfortable walking shoes. No one likes getting blisters on their travels!
This post is in collaboration with Qantas Cash. All thoughts are my own.