Life, Money

Preparing for overseas travel – tips for coming home to money

Published on September 8, 2015 8:10 am, by

Last year we did the big OE!  Not quite the one that students dream of.  The other one, when you’re pushing 40 and have 3 kids in tow.  Being keen budgeters we already knew that 5 people for 6 weeks in Europe was going to be a challenge.  We learnt lots before we went, lots more while we were there, and even more when we came home.

Someone recently said to me, you have to work out how much you can get “in” as well as how much will go “out” while you are away.  So keep reading for some ideas to help you on your way to coming home with money still in your bank account.

Getting money in –

For the home owners

Check out AirBNB.  I’ve used it as a traveller and loved it.  I have friends who’ve rented out their homes when they travel and they love the money.  Think of a neighbour or friend who might appreciate some extra dollars for cleaning and changing bed sheets, and moving out any of the food that renters may leave.  The dollars you earn may cover your overseas accommodation costs.

For the car owners

My mates recently took a 9 week trip to Europe (lucky things!).  They earned $1,000 on their car while they were gone.  News to me, there are companies like DrivemyCar who take your car and look after it while you’re away.  They insure it, advertise it, rent it out, and in essence manage it for you while you are away.  Best of all they will pay you for the pleasure.

For the renters or sharers

Can you sublet your house, unit or room while you are away?  Checking in with the landlord is the safest way to go.  And if you go down this route, make sure you lock up your valuables and list what is available for people to use.

Money going out –

Create a budget

Do some research and understand the price differences in your destinations.  When creating a budget understand that you may spend 2-3 times more in some cities to others.  For example a nice meal out for 5 in Athens could cost from 30 to 35 Euros where in Paris it 2 or 3 times more than that.

Check whether your Credit Card has travel insurance

We found that all purchases made on Credit Card would be covered, so we made sure we purchased flights, accommodation and rental cars by Credit Card.  Additionally our Credit Card covered us for emergency medical care and other mishaps overseas that a travel insurance policy would have covered us for.

Find the local grocery store

Food will be cheap and a picnic lunch or dinner will allow you to soak up the local culture.

Steer away from hotel restaurants

A local bakery or coffee shop will normally be a lot cheaper than the hotel fare.  When looking to eat out ask the locals.  The tourist traps will normally cost a lot more than the where the locals eat.

Know your luggage limits

Make sure you understand how much luggage you can carry on both international and domestic flights, you don’t want to be charged for unexpected baggage costs.

Keep an emergency stash of money

If you lose or have a wallet stolen you will need money.  When we travelled, we had a card each to the same account.  Our daughter had her own card, and I carried her back up card.  Additionally we kept some cash hidden away for emergencies.

Research accommodation options

We are spoilt for choice!  We booked accommodation through a variety of channels – AirBNB, VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner), booking.com and wotif.com.  Sometimes we could use our Credit Card and sometimes we paid cash on arrival. We also checked reviews on Trip Advisor.

Not all travel cards are created equal

Research your travel card options.  Some institutions charge you a percentage of what you withdraw.  Some charge you to put more funds on the card.  We found a card that enabled us to put our first deposit on for nothing, we could then BPAY additional funds for a fee.  We were given a list of ATMs to use overseas that we wouldn’t be charged fees at.  Being prepared meant we paid minimal fees in our travels.

Tell your bank you are going overseas

Research your credit card fees for overseas.  If you are going to use your Credit Card overseas be sure to contact your provider and let them know where are you are going and when you will be there.  Credit Cards can be put on hold by your bank or provider if they believe there is a chance it is being used fraudulently and this is a red flag for them.

Find the free Wi-Fi spots

We didn’t bother with phones.  We took our SIMS out of our phones to save us any mistakes and used them on free Wi-Fi services only.  FaceBook messaging and coffee stops with free Wi-Fi allowed us to find each other quickly and at no cost.  For the teenagers in the house – they got to speak to their mates on Skype when we stayed anywhere with free Wi-Fi.

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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