5 money management tips for travelers: How to stay safe and save money
When we’re on holidays, we are more relaxed with money and often squander where we could save. Or, much worse – fall in tourist traps that could be avoided if we just paid a bit more attention.To help you manage your travel spending in the smartest and safest way, we asked frequent travelers to share their holiday budgeting tips. We hope they will help you spend money in a way that brings joy to yourself and your travel companions.
1. Plan your travel expenses ahead
It’s fun to be spontaneous, but some planning can save you lots of money. For example, consider traveling in the offseason, and staying in an apartment instead of a hotel. Also, reduce your expenses by booking or ordering ahead:
Buy plane tickets 47 to 90 days in advance depending on the season. When it comes to flights, last-minute buyers aren’t getting the cheapest deal.
Rent a car online – it will be much cheaper and quicker than going through this process at the airport counter.
Settle smaller expenses while you’re still at home – e.g., buy travel insurance, order travel documents, a payment card, etc. Remember – urgent orders are always more expensive.
Victoria, a seasoned traveler, always plans her trips at least three months ahead. “First, I find the cheapest available plane tickets using a flight search engine like Skyscanner. Approximately after a month, I book my accommodation. And a few weeks before the trip I rent a car online. I love this system because the biggest traveling expenses are spread out over several months.”
2. Research money exchange options
Maybe you too have been a victim of currency exchange scams abroad? Some exchange offices in particularly touristic areas take advantage of foreigners who aren’t familiar with the local currency or mention a sky-high commission in small print.
Eva, a frequent traveler, fell for a currency exchange scam in Prague. “I found the exchange rate of koruna to euro confusing from the beginning. Thus I didn’t instantly notice that the money I got at the exchange office was 25% less than I was supposed to receive. Hastily, I signed a receipt in Czech, and I had officially fallen in a popular tourist trap.”
Luckily, such businesses have less and less power over you as new money exchange options appear. Some tips:
You will probably get a better exchange rate if you withdraw cash from local ATMs. However, make sure to check your bank’s withdrawal fees in your destination country and the ATM’s bank. Normally, you’ll pay a smaller commission when you withdraw larger sums of money.
Avoid exchanging money in airports and other touristic areas. Instead, opt for smaller exchange bureaus that give honest and exact tenders before the transaction. In some countries, the safest option is to exchange cash in a bank.
Use VIALET with 1% exchange rate outside of the EEA. For payments and withdrawals in a different currency, VIALET will use Mastercard exchange rates from that day and apply 1% commission. Within the EEA you can pay with no fees (both online and in shops).
3. Protect your money from thieves
Exploring unfamiliar places and ways of life is part of what makes traveling so exciting. But remember – as a tourist, you don’t know the local language and customs and are more vulnerable to theft.
But here’s the good news.
In most cases, you can easily avoid this common pitfall with just a bit of preparation and caution.
Anna commutes between several European countries monthly. She shares a money management tip: “I never take my credit card and a big amount of cash with me as I leave the hotel. Every day I charge my VIALET Mastercard with a small amount of money for my daily expenses and leave my credit card in the hotel room safe. I feel much safer knowing that not all my assets are kept in one place and format.”
4. Always have a financial backup
Theft is not the only potential problem travelers are facing. For example, you may run out of cash and find that local shops or ATMs won’t accept your credit card for some reason. It’s smart to have a backup option with you in case of an emergency.
Carlos, who travels both for business and pleasure, has noticed that each country has a slightly different policy towards electronic payments. “In some countries, my credit card was not accepted in smaller shops. In others, I was surprised to learn that my bank charged a significant commission every time I paid. To be on the safe side, I always take several means of payment with me when I go abroad – e.g., some cash to exchange, my credit card and my VIALET Mastercard.”
VIALET app and Mastercard are a convenient solution for travelers because:
VIALET Mastercard is accepted in POS in all EEA countries with no fees, and with only 1% commission in other countries worldwide.
You get a fixed commission for withdrawal in most ATMs.
You can instantly transfer money from your account to other VIALET users for free – very handy when traveling with family or friends.
You can top-up your VIALET Mastercard by merely scanning your regular bank card and choosing the necessary amount.
It’s easy to request money from friends or family if you suddenly run out of cash – as soon as your request is approved, you’ll receive funds on your card instantly.
5. Manage your family travel budget wisely
When you travel with your family, money management can get trickier. For example, sometimes your family members might get separated for a shopping session or other entertainment. When somebody runs out of funds, sending them an instant money transfer can be a lifesaver.
Mark reveals that his family uses VIALET account and Mastercard as a holiday solution. “We often travel together with my brother’s family, and we have encountered situations when we need to share some expenses or when somebody runs out of funds for a bigger payment, like renting a car. We all have VIALET accounts and debit Mastercards, so we can transfer or request money from each other in seconds – and free of charge. It’s also very helpful when we travel with our older kids who are students.
I also believe this is the safest option for traveling. Once my son accidentally lost his card, but the amount on it was not significant, and it didn’t spoil our vacation.”
Spend your holiday budget the right way
Nobody wants to count every penny and think like an accountant during the holidays.
If you follow our tips, you won’t have to.
Good luck avoiding the classic tourist pitfalls and saving money where you can – to spend it in a better way!
To make your travels even more safe and comfortable, open your VIALET account today and order a debit Mastercard for yourself and your travel buddies.