A lot can go wrong when you travel. Banks will strike just when you want to get your travel money out. ATM’s will fail. Your money will be stolen, or lost. You will take sick or take ill in your destination. All these things have one thing in common, they will keep you from your much needed money, or they will cost money.
It’s said cash is king in business. It’s the lifeblood that keeps the business machine chugging along. And needless to say, its also the oil that greases your travel experiences. Run out of it when traveling and you are in deep sh*t. So then, how do you handle your travel money? What is the best way to carry it, access it and use it? We’ve got some tried and tested tips for you. Read along and share yours too.
The Travel Money Tips
1) Always Carry Cash With You
You will never go wrong with cash. The best is to carry one of the major currencies. Especially the dollar. Most people have a rough idea of the dollar’s value at any given time. You can easily use dollars to pay for most things across countries. It is also easy to find exchange bureaus for the dollar compared to some other currencies.
Also in case of emergencies or failure by banks and ATM’s, you are well covered.
2) Separate Your Travel Money
Don’t put all your travel money in one pocket or bag. Separate it. Carry small amounts in each pocket. Also separate your credit and debit cards. This creates multiple backups in case you lose a bag, or you are pick-pocketed or other alternatives fail. Keep some smaller bills in an easy to reach place for sudden expenses. It’s better to keep the bulk of your money on body storage, such as bra pouches, long johnny boxers. This is especially handy in risky or shared spaces such as hostels.
3) Beware of Exchange Rates
Converting currency costs money. Sometimes you can lose as much as 8% of your money during exchanges. Keep exchanges to a minimum. Calculate the cash you might need locally and exchange that amount at once. Here are some fast rules of thumb regarding currency exchanges:-
- Stick to reputable exchanges such as regulated bureaus and banks
- Don’t change your money from street vendors. It’s a recipe for a rip-off
- Exchange the bulk of your cash at the local travel destination. You get a better late than at your home bank.
- Avoid exchanging money at the airports. The rates are awful. They know you are desperate.
- Be aware of the local currency value in relation to your currency. Some vendors will try to rip you off.
- Get a feel for the local currency. Study the coins and notes. Keep a vague mental value of the currency in relation to your currency. And count your money before you leave the counter.
4) Credit & Debit Cards
Most times, credit and debit cards are a reliable way of carrying and spending travel money. They are easy and convenient to carry. They can be safely used in most countries. However, most developing countries aren’t yet reliably hooked to the global card system. If traveling to those countries, cash will serve you right. For debit and credit cards, keep the following in mind:-
- Store your cards safely
- Inform your bank before you travel such that your card isn’t blocked for fraud when you use it abroad.
- Study the foreign use fees charged by banks on your card. If the charges are too high, seek other alternatives.
- Carry multiple cards in case others fail to work for any reason
- Don’t let your cards out of sight, ever. Credit card fraud schemes have started when a cashier spent a lot longer time with your card.
- Store emergency help line numbers for your cards handy in cases of theft or loss.
- Put the larger purchases on your debit/credit card. This include airfare, hotel reservations, car rentals etc
5) The Local Currency Advantage
Use the local currency for your transactions. Most vendors will rip you off and add a huge markup price if you produce foreign currency. Their supposed exchange rates for their products is also awful. Using local currency, you can compare your purchases to that of the locals or even ask for their help with prices and understanding the currency. Regular, ordinary folks tend to be really helpful and genuine.
# The Bonus Tips
- Local coins are worthless once you leave a country. Spend them on small purchases, change them for bills or give them away.
- Exchange all your money back to dollars when you leave. See Tip #1
- The traveler’s check is fast becoming obsolete in favor of ATM’s. Leave yours at home.
- If all else fails. Have someone back home wire you the money through Western Union etc.
Carrying travel money abroad can be a hassle. There is always the risk losing the cash. As pointed out though, there are various safe ways to carry and spend your money. Research the various alternatives and chose the best for the destination you are traveling to. Money may be the oil that greases your travel adventures, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Instead, your focus should be on enjoying yourself.
How do you keep your money safe while traveling? Let’s us know in the comments below.Read More
The airline business is brutal. Airlines have to deal with seemingly ever rising fuel prices, rise in material costs, shifts in Geo-politics and increased personnel costs. Add to that the fierce competition among airlines and you can see why airfares seem as volatile as the stock markets.
Why is that relevant you ask? Because the costs get passed onto your the traveler. An airline has to consider all those factors into the price of your ticket.
Let’s face it, airfare forms the lion’s share of all your travel related expenses. The good news is, you can still get cheap airline tickets even when the airline cards are stacked against you. It will just take you some time and a bit of flexibility. It’s as simple as that. So let’s explore some of the ways you can land some cheap airline tickets.
Sign Up For An Airline Miles Credit Card
Frequent flier miles program allow you to accumulate points for each mile you fly. Additionally, you can earn miles for purchases charged to the card or earn points from partner programs. You can then use your miles to get upgrades on a flight or a cheap airline ticket to your destination depending on availability. You can even redeem your points for free hotel stays and meals.
How do you accumulate miles faster?
- Shop at your program’s member stores. Most airline miles programs have partnerships with major retailers to allow you score miles for each purchase.
- Charge everything to the airline miles card. Whether groceries or mortgage payments, simply charge it to the card. These are expenses you would have incurred anyway, you might as well earn some points while you are it.
- Sign up for airline mailing lists and watch for deals, offers and bonuses. Sometimes airline offer super cheap deals on flights or easy ways to earn miles that you can take advantage off. Sign up to receive the alerts.
Fly Budget Carriers and Secondary Airports
Airports charge airlines landing fees among other charges. The bigger and busier the airport, the more they charge. Smaller airports on the other hand charge lower landing fees and the savings are passed on to you, the consumer. You can get a cheap airline flight by flying a budget carrier to a cheaper secondary airport.
Budget carriers are “no frills” airlines. Don’t expect the normal perks offered by the major airlines. To make up for that they charge lower fares. You get to travel more for less, albeit not so much comfortably 🙂
Additionally, ensure the secondary airport isn’t too far out from your ultimate destination. In some instances, the savings on airfare might be swallowed up by cab fares.
Be Flexible On Routes
You can land cheap airline flights by flying indirectly to your route.
How does that work? You take a flight to another city or hub near your destination and from there either take a train or opt for a budget local carrier for the remainder of your journey. International long distance flights are expensive. Domestic flights tend to be cheaper. So you break down your journey and enjoy the local travel benefits.
There are drawbacks to this method. It takes more time to get to your destination. It also takes time to put together you cheap airline flight itinerary. You have to research and compare various flights and ensure you are getting the best deal for the slight inconveniences.
Be Versatile On Travel Dates
Data collected over time by airline data outfits point to some cheap days to fly. For example, airfare tends to be more expensive in August when more Europeans travel and when North Americans wrap up their summer vacations. You can get a cheap airline flight immediately after a major holiday or smack in the middle of the week. Hello Wednesday 🙂
Did you know that you can land a cheap airline ticket if you travel early in the morning or deep into the night? It turns out that people love convenience and those awkwardly timed flights attract less takers making them prime for you, the budget traveler.
Getting onto a cheap airline ticket is an art. It requires flexibility on when, where and how you are willing to travel. Research and planning are essential in getting the best deals and stringing a smart itinerary. It calls for patience and comfort sacrifices at times. But it is possible. At the end of the day, you end up being the guy or gal who paid the lowest for that ticket. But more importantly, you get to travel more for less.
Here are some more ideas on how you can reduce your travel related expenses:-
Be smart, fly cheap!Read More
David and Auston are Two Bad Tourists who like to travel “their way” and not the way you’re “supposed to.” They believe travel is more achievable and possible to do without spending a lot of money. You can follow their blog on Twitter, Facebook, Google plus or You Tube.
First of all tell us who you are…
Two Bad Tourists is a travel blog created in 2012 by David and Auston, two American’s who left the US to travel around the world. A former lab scientist and engineer, we now teach English and work freelance in Spain.
Why the name Two Bad Tourists?
Our style of travel is not typical of the average tourist. We prefer to travel slower and experience more by visiting less. We’re not bad travelers, per se, but we don’t really appreciate the hyper-sightseeing approach when visiting new places.
What motivated you to start to start your blog?
Our original motivation for our blog was to create a journal of our one year round-the-world trip so we could share our experience with close family and friends. We never had the intention to make our blog public or become (*cough, cough) “professional travel bloggers.” Now we continue blogging to inform and inspire others to travel. We love visiting new places and sharing our experience with our readers. Likewise, we enjoy discovering our own new home in Spain, so we can provide local tips like where to find gay friendly accommodation in Madrid or guides to the best gay nightlife in Madrid.
When was your first trip? Where did you go?
Our round-the-world trip started in May 2012, though we started the blog in February to share our story of planning our trip, selling our belonging, quitting our jobs and leaving our then home town of Chicago. Our first destination on our trip was Mexico City where we spent 2 weeks studying Spanish in an intensive course.
Have you ever experienced any challenges to blogging as duo, such as who’s turn it is to write?
Yes! We always joke that David is more creative but Auston works harder. We occasionally have different opinions on what to write or how we should engage with our readers, but in the end we always work it out. Luckily, we each have strengths in different areas of the blog and we tend to prefer working on the area in which we are best skilled.
You have mentioned it is possible to travel without spending a lot, what trick do you use to limit costs when traveling?
We save the most money on traveling by using airline miles to book flights. Our original round-the-world trip was booked solely with airlines miles that Auston had saved for more than 4 years. Along with miles saved from business travel, we also took advantage of airlines promotions and mileage earning credit cards. We also appreciate traveling in a more local way so luxury hotels or frequent taxi rides are rarely things we really go for. We usually take public transportation and often stay in hostels, budget hotels or even use couch surfing to stay with locals for free.
How do you fund your travels?
Our original round-the-world trip lasted for one year and ended in February of 2013. This trip was funded by 3+ years of savings. We consequently spent our entire life savings and moved to Spain with one-way tickets, no money and no jobs. One year later we are still living in Madrid. David teaches English part time and Auston works freelance as an engineer and travel writer.
For the budget travelers out there, what would be your top tip for saving money when traveling?
If you’re American, airline mileage earning credit cards is by far the best way to save on travel. Some programs even let you redeem miles for hotels or rental cars. Although some banks offer credit card offers in other countries, they tend not to be as lucrative. For those living in other countries, the best money saving tip is to explore alternative approaches to travel like house swapping, house sitting, couch surfing or car sharing. These programs are often very inexpensive or even free. Some people are hesitant to try these programs out of fear or misunderstanding, but they are all friendly and have trust and review systems to ensure everyone’s safety.
Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?
Yes, we’ve used various different airlines cards over the past couple years. The cards we are currently using are the Lufthansa Miles & More Card from Barclays and the Starwood American Express. We love the Starwood card because we can use it for hotel stays or transfer the points to almost any airline.
Any major travel regrets?
We don’t have any major travel regrets but we certainly would have done things differently if we could go back. Firstly, on our round the world trip we would have visited less countries and stayed for longer in each place. We quickly learned that traveling to a new city every 5 days can become exhausting and is not sustainable for an entire year. While we did scale back some during our trip, many of the flights were pre-booked so we didn’t always have as much flexibility as we wanted.
Any Advice to young travelers?
Don’t wait to start traveling! A lot of people will try to convince you that you should focus only on school or a career and they’re the most important. While it’s true that an education and a good job are important, you must realize that traveling when you’re young is often easier to undertake because you have less commitments and you can enjoy your time more than when you’re older.Read More
You are a travel blogger or you want to take the plunge in discovering our beautiful but vast planet. The big question to ask yourself is; How will i fund traveling this amazing planet? Don’t worry anymore cause I’ll be sharing those tricks I do to fund all my travels hoping it will be beneficial to you too.
Companies pay you to advertise their products or services on your website. These advertisements can take many forms, such as sidebar banner ads, or sponsored content where a company pays you to publish a post about them. While advertising on your site, be cautious though, you might be penalized by Google loosing all your income in a fraction of time.
Whenever you share maybe a book or any other product, always include an affiliate link to those products because if someone clicks that link and goes ahead and buy that product, you make a certain percentage from that sale.
The world is big and beautiful with infinite number of amazing photos to be taken. Be the one to capture the beauty of a sunset at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro or the migration of the world beast at Masaai Mara. Depending on the country you are visiting, there is a good chance that you will make a reasonable income by selling them to magazines or sell them online. Just master a few tips and tricks that will enable you make your photos much more marketable and fashionable.
There are many different types of freelance writing you can do, from writing travel related articles for other websites to newsletters and blogs for various companies. I’ve been doing this for a time now and it worthy all your effort.
Brand partnerships are longer-term projects with companies. There are many brands out there with fantastic products that you would be happy to work with on a long-term basis in exchange for compensation
Is there any tips I’ve omitted you feel should be on this list? Share it with us in the comments below
Amazing Reads of the Week
Things I Did in Riviera Maya besides Diving – Electric Travel Girl
27 Inspirational Projects & Quotes from WDS 2014 – Travel Junkette
11 Ways to Make Money When You Spend Money – Money Mini Blog
Monetizing Your Blog and Spotting Dodgy Advertisers – Mo Money Mo Houses
Summer Project: Moroccan and Bohemian Style Patio – Continental Fairy
What to do, see, eat in Rome? Tips from a local Roman! – Getting Stamped
If you are traveling with an infant, one of the most important considerations to take is the seat for an infant. The baby should sit upright with the seat belt fastened. If your child is too small to sit in a seat, then you should be sit where it is comfortable enough for your child, due to oxygen constrains.
Children always come with responsibilities. Whenever you are traveling with your child,its important to keep close watch to your kid once in a while. A plane attendant may help you to locate a room where you can change your infant’s diapers or clean it up. If your baby is over 6 months old, it is important to carry along food supplies or sips of water to keep them busy and also full 🙂 .Also you may need to request hot water or ice from the flight attendants to keep items cold or hot.
Also make sure to carry your laundry needs as it will always be needed at your destination.
Children may be used to transported in a stroller. However some airlines may not permit you to carry a stroller as a carry-on baggage. If you have to carry a stroller, carry a small and a collapsible one to avoid problems with the airline authorities. Some airline authorities may give a free service while checking the strollers and also they can be made available during the plane connections.
Keep the baby in your mind mind
Adjust your mind and keep in it that you will make lots of little breaks along your journey. It is important that you let the baby to stretch, wiggle and maybe roll on a blanket. It is important that you arrive early at the airport to keep the baby set for the air travel.
Plan your seat ahead of time.
During reservations, its is important to let the agents know that there will be a baby on board. This may guarantee the child’s safety as there might exist some restriction to where the baby should be placed. It might be good if the baby is placed near the window to avoid blocking other passengers who might be passing by. It is usually noisy at the back of the plane, so it would be better if the baby is kept far front as possible.Read More