The summer is here, and the holiday and travel season has begun. Some of us will be inspired by local roads and landscapes and others will choose to travel to near or faraway countries. However, during this time it is important to not forget to take care of your finances so that travel memories are not overshadowed by concerns about over spending and the safety of our money.
During a trip there can be quite a few risks associated with the safety of your money. For example tourists can become the target of local pickpockets, and cash withdrawal from an ATM abroad or currency exchange can be related to unexpectedly high commissions. Likewise, the diversity of foreign knickknacks can make you forget yourself and spend more than you had planned. Most of these and other risks can be avoided simply by spending a little bit more time on planning your trip.
Setting a budget
To separate the travel fund from the rest of the money is the simplest way to keep from spending too much and putting the family finances at risk. Before going on a trip, take a critical look at your financial opportunities. Set the total travel budget and plan how much money you will need for food, hotels, transportation and other expenses. Don’t forget to set aside some money for entertainment, souvenirs and other treats, as well as leave some reserves for unexpected costs. Take into account the price level at the specific country you will be visiting. You will find plenty of useful and interesting information on travel sites (such as tripadvisor.com, lonelyplanet.com and others), as well as apps – TouristEye or TripCase. If you are travelling with pets, be sure to use the BringFido app which will provide information about the nearest dog parts or pet-friendly accommodation, which may affect your travel expenses.
Cash or credit card?
Despite the technological advances, there are still many places where it is not possible to pay by card, for example public bathrooms, markets and small cafes outside of bigger cities. Therefore, it is best to split the travel funds in half – keep one part in your bank account, and the other in cash. Bank cards, of course, are much safer than cash and allow better control over your spending. However, before you set off, put limits on your transactions and check the validity period of the card. It might be useful to order a second payment card, so you could continue your vacation even if the first card is stolen or lost. When paying by card, try to always keep an eye on it. Remember, payments with your card can only be made in your presence; never allow anyone to take your card to a different room where the payment terminal is (in such a case, go with the service personnel). Before going on your trip find out the contact information of your bank, so it would be possible to quickly communicate and resolve any issues in the case of necessity.
The currency you should take with you on the trip depends on the country you plan to visit. Most European countries accept euros without difficulties, so the currency exchange is not always necessary. However, if your country of choice has a different currency, take care of the currency exchange in advance. It is more convenient to exchange currency while still at home as, firstly, you can’t know how much access to ATMs or card payments you will have and, secondly, the cash exchange points in airports, bus stations, border crossings and hotels often provide disadvantageous exchange rates. If you do need to exchange currency abroad, however, it is better to choose ATMs of internationally familiar financial institutions which are located in safe places – the best ones are on special premises near the bank, in airports or hotels. Before that make sure that the ATM is free of any reader devices – skimmers – and try to withdraw your cash during the day.
How to protect yourself from thieves?
To avoid theft or losing your money, we recommend keeping larger sums in the safes available in hotels. Set the daily spending budget to take with you for the day and leave the rest of the money in the safe. Anywhere there is large number of tourists, there are plenty of pickpockets hunting for their victims, therefore, you should keep your money in different places, for example, both in your pocket and your wallet. Remember that during the trip you should take care not only about the safety of your money, but also your documents. We recommend keeping both money and documents as close as possible to your body and check they are still there regularly. Both on travel sites and talking to other travellers you can gain useful information about protecting yourself from pickpockets and how to recognise frauds. For example, pickpockets often work in groups and among them are both children and well dressed “townfolk”. In the larger cities there are places that are especially popular among thieves where you need to be doubly careful.
Take care of your finances during your trip, so you can enjoy your vacation and bring home nothing but positive memories!