It’s easy to think you’re on the home stretch money-wise once all the big purchases are out of the way. Perhaps you’ve booked your flight, found accommodation and worked through those pesky costs of vaccinations, travel insurance and visas. But, even when the wheels hit the runway and you’ve arrived, money still needs a little attention. Read on to find out our top tips for saving, budgeting, ATMs and more.
Saving Money for Travel
Even if you’re planning on working on the road, it helps to have a little money put away so you can fully enjoy your new life abroad. And if you’ll be country-hopping your way around the world this is even more important. Saving for travel is no mean feat, but it’s all about perspective. Yes, you could treat yourself to that new gadget or a whole new wardrobe each season but that doesn’t mean you need either one of them. Consider what that same amount of cash could buy you on the road and then choose which you’d rather have. Regular drinks out at home, or another day/week/month on the road as you explore Ecuador? An overpriced membership to that swanky gym or the chance to hike your way around Iceland?
Give yourself financial goals, they can be small at first, and set aside a set amount each month until you hit them. Treat this money as another bill, a lot more fun than an electricity bill, but something that is non-negotiable and has to be paid in full each month. Any spare money after that can go towards that gadget, wardrobe, drinks or gym membership.
To give your income a boost there are always bigger steps like taking on another job or selling your stuff. But even without these more drastic actions, taking small steps to slim down your spending over time will bulk up your travel savings in a big way.
Making and Keeping a Budget
Once you’ve got the money and you’re out on the road it can be all too easy to get carried away with spending. Making and sticking to a budget ensures you’ll have just as much cash to splash at the end of a 6 month trip as you did on day 1.
Keep in mind the spend less, save more mentality you had at home. This limits impulse purchases meaning you’ll have more money to travel for longer or in more luxury. Figure out a rough figure for what you’ll need each day. This should not only cover the essentials like accommodation and meals, but the fun added extras like entertainment, activities and a few drinks out here and there too.
Remember to keep a little wiggle room in the budget for unexpected costs. From the big, like a spontaneous sky dive, to the small, like tipping in restaurants, there’ll always be unplanned expenses. Wiggle room also comes in handy for when the inevitable travel disasters strike. From missing the boat and having to shell out for another ticket, to lost luggage meaning a shopping trip for the essentials, having money in the bank for those moments takes half the stress out of the situation.
Currency, Cards and Cash
The easiest way to carry money abroad is by using your debit card and withdrawing cash from ATMs. If you’re opening a new account research those that come with travel related benefits especially those which boast no fees for withdrawing abroad. Even taking into account these fees, ATMs offer a much better rate than currency exchange with your bank. Plus, there’s the added bonus of not having to carry your entire 12 month travel fund with you everywhere. Take enough out at each withdrawal to make the fees worth it (i.e. more than just dinner for that night) but not your entire savings.
If you’re staying long-term in one country it could be good idea to set up a bank account there. Especially if you plan on working, getting paid directly into this account means you’ll avoid any pesky bank charges.
Plus, it never hurts to have a spare card or a little cash tucked away in your backpack for emergencies.
Making Money Abroad (That’s Where We Come In!)
Of course, you don’t need to make all your money before you leave. Working on the road is a great option for either topping up the travel account when needed or as a long-term plan. Find inspiration on our blog from real life stories, read our top tips for what work is best for you (?) to get ideas and then browse our jobs board to find a job and travel the world. Simple.