You’ve been saving your hard-earned dollars ahead of your grand adventure. You’ve booked the flights, sussed your visas and it’s only a matter of time before you’re lazing on a beach with your out of office on. But the hard part isn’t over yet. You don’t want your money to slip between your fingers in a few short days or weeks.
We’ve teamed up with Westpac NZ to help you actually stick to your travel budget. They’re all about helping people manage their money better so you can get ahead financially and live your best life. In the second part of their money series, here are seven tips to avoid blowing the budget while you travel.
1. First Things First, Work Out A Daily Budget
Newsflash: the biggest tip for sticking to your travel budget is having a budget to start with. Figure out how much cash you’ve saved for your trip and divide that across how many days you’ll be away for. Voilà—you’ve got yourself a daily budget! Some days you’ll inevitably go over it—especially when you’ve got big transport expenses. Make up for this by having a few quiet days to even things out. This leads us to the next tip…
2. Keep Track Of Every Dollar Spent
Now that your daily budget is in place, grab a notebook and write down every dollar you spend—no cheating! At the end of the week (or every couple of days), add up how much you’ve spent along the way. You’ll be able to compare this to your daily budget to keep yourself on track with your goals. Alternatively, the Trail Wallet app does this for you by organising your expenses in just a few taps. Oh and FYI, CashNav has the added benefit of immediately showing the NZD spent to help you keep track.
3. Get Travel Insurance
You’d be a fool for not getting travel insurance ahead of your grand adventure. This will cover you if things go pear-shaped. What if your flight is delayed and you're stranded? Or what if your luggage mysteriously disappears? Trust us: these things aren’t cheap to remedy without insurance. Luckily, if you have a specified Westpac credit card, you could benefit from travel insurance cover. You can also apply online here for Westpac Travel Insurance.
4. Travel Slooowly
Your travel costs soon skyrocket when you add big airfares to the mix. Combine this with transport to and from the airport, visas and baggage fees and you’ll watch your money disappear—fast. Travelling to fewer countries (or cities) in a slower manner will save you cash and, after all, what’s the rush?! Suss accommodation deals for a week-long stay, work out the cheapest places to eat and just reeelax.
5. Be An Exchange Rate Nerd
In the lead up to your trip, familiarise yourself with the local currency and the fluctuating exchange rate. If the rate is looking ace, lock it in by loading up a Westpac Global Currency Card. This avoids the uncertainty of conversion rates and by pre-paying, you know exactly how much you have to spend before you travel—it’s a win-win!
6. Eat Like A Local
From street food to hole-in-the-wall eateries, locals know where the cheapest (and best!) food is. Places attracting a crowd are guaranteed to be good—and the high turnover of ingredients means things are fresh. Don’t avoid local food because you might get sick—the so-called fancy restaurants and street vendors buy their food from the same markets. If there’s a crowd of locals eating there, you’re probably safe.
7. Choose Your ATMs Wisely
Fun fact: no two ATMs are created equally. Westpac customers can save on international transaction fees by using ATMs belonging to the Global ATM Alliance. For example, when you’re in the UK, look for Barclays Bank. If you’re in the U S of A, look for Bank of America ATMs. Check out the full list here to save $3 per transaction.
Annnd you’re off! Be sure to tell your bank of your travel plans to help them in monitoring for special activity —you can do this through Westpac One® online banking. For more money tips and tricks, check out Westpac’s newly launched Helping New Zealand Grow—they’ve got articles and info to get you on track.
Editor’s note: This article is proudly sponsored by Westpac. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Westpac. Westpac does not endorse or approve any non-Westpac goods or services referred to. This content is intended as a general guide only, and does not take your personal financial situation or goals into account.