Coming back from an overseas trip with enough money in your account to live off something fancier than baked beans is a trick many people have failed to master.
To help you out this holiday season RateCity has compiled a list of our best travel savings tips that will help ease that holiday hangover.
Pack the right travel companion
The credit card you use at home may not be the best card to take with you on the road. Instead, find a card that doesn’t have outrageous international fees and changes. There are currently over 15 credit and debit cards on the RateCity site that charge no currency conversion fee, and 47 debit cards with no international ATM fees charged by the provider. In the 12 months to October, Aussie travellers paid an estimated $378.4 million in currency conversion fees and $157.4 million in international ATM fees so make sure you’re not one of the people being caught out.
Track spending with a travel app
If your someone who’s accidentally blown the budget on a must have purchase and then struggled for the rest of the holiday to get your finances back under control, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The good news is that there are plenty of apps to help you reign in the dollars and help you keep track of daily spending. Apps such as Trail Wallet also help you size up big ticket items against your overall budget, so if you do decide to blow it, the app will revise how much you have left to spend for the duration of the trip and help you reign in further spending. Having a good idea of the state of your finances during your trip will help you avoid getting caught out by reaching a zero dollar bank balance.
Use free Wi-Fi to avoid phone bills
Returning home from a holiday is often made all the more difficult when you receive the massive mobile bill from while you were away. To avoid bill shock next holiday try to take advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots to message people and call loved ones using free apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Skype. With Wi-Fi now even available on Mount Everest and in Space there’s no longer an excuse for paying through the nose to contact home while travelling.
Look into free travel insurance
Take advantage of the free insurance offered on most Gold and Platinum credit cards when travelling such as BankWest's Zero Platinum MasterCard. Just be aware that often you will have to book a majority of the trip on your card to qualify for this free service. Even if you don’t have a card offering free travel insurance, it may be worth signing up for one as the annual fee can be cheaper than the cost of insurance from a retail provider if you travel frequently. Always read the product disclosure statement to make sure you understand the exclusions that apply and find an insurance policy that is right for your needs.
Book ahead and research
Planning your trip and booking ahead is a good way to avoid paying a premium for last minute accommodation or events. That way, instead of having to choose between a night on the streets or bankrupting yourself at the Hilton, you’ll know in advance that you have reasonably priced accommodation waiting for you at the end of your day. Similarly with tickets to events, attractions or concerts you a planning on seeing early bird deals are often available if you book well in advance.
Take advantage of free events
With that said, there are also great free events to be taken advantage of in every city that can save you cash. Most museums and galleries will offer a certain time weekly where entry is free to the public. For example, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has free entry on Friday nights but it’s best to be early to beat the rush. Taking into account these free session times in your pre-planning is essential to cashing in on these bargains.
Haggle like a local
Depending on where you are travelling to, bargaining for your goods may be a perfectly acceptable way of shopping. Particularly in market places across Asia and the Middle East bargaining is an expected form of trading and it’s worth giving it a try to see how much you can save. Do some scouting before you try it out and see how much the locals are paying for items to give you an idea of what’s an acceptable price range.