The “expert” on money matters for travelers is most likely the one who learned from all the mistakes he or she made while on the go. While there is no “one size fits all” recommendation for managing money set aside for travel, there are a few basics everyone should know:
Cheapest ways to get travel money
1. Make a budget. Setting off with no clear idea of how much you can afford to spend during your trip is a recipe for disaster. Included in that budget should be a firm understanding of any credit limits you have on your bank or charge cards. Frivolous spending on your cards may lead to the embarrassment of having your card denied at a crucial point in your travels. Making a budget also helps find ways of saving some expenses while away from home. Your budget becomes a kind of game to see if you can actually come in under budget by the time you return home.
2. In preparation, shop around. If you’re going by air, have you found the best deal on airline tickets? Keep in mind that the best deal may not necessarily be the cheapest deal. A low cost ticket that includes a 17-hour layover in “Lower Elbonia” may not be worth the wear and tear on your health. Also, you need to check on the seating configuration of the aircraft. One with 5 ½ inches of leg room might not make the bargain price such a bargain. Conclusion: there may not be a great deal of flexibility when it comes to selecting your airline.
3. Limit the amount of cash you carry in your wallet. This may turn into a check and balance system for keeping your expenses down. For example, if you get a sudden impulse to buy a $50 item in an airport terminal but you only have $35 in your pocket, it gives you time to decide if you really do want to charge something you don’t really need.
4. If you’re taking a road trip, get an app for your cell phone that shows where the cheapest gasoline prices are. Also, make provision for roadside rest area picnics instead of stopping at fast food places along the highway. When you’re hungry you don’t really notice the jacked up prices for their food.
5. Do for yourself. It is told that the late J. Paul Getty, when he was the wealthiest man in the world, used to wash out his own socks in his hotel room. With today’s fabrics, it is possible to wash just about everything and hang them up over the bathtub.
With major construction projects, a great deal is made about coming in under budget once the project is complete. It’s no different for the traveler who returns home with more money than had been predicted in a travel budget. The pleasure of returning home under budget may be the best souvenir of a wonderful travel getaway.