The Best Way To Save Money While Traveling
Updated: Jun 19, 2022
When planning a trip, creating a budget is as crucial as choosing the right destination. Money is one of the most important factors to take into account. And yet, sometimes people forget to create a budget or bring cash.
Those who don’t prepare in advance, end up paying doubled fees at foreign ATMs. Years ago, I was one of those who always forgot.
I learned the hard way to plan myself accordingly and I am here to share a few tips. There are two questions I always ask myself before boarding the plane: what’s the currency at my final destination and how am I getting cash?
Finding out the currency is just one Google search away. Getting cash, there are different ways. Everything depends on where you’re going and how long you will be staying abroad. But, I will reveal a few tips that have helped me through the years. And if the cap fits, wear it.
Do It At Home
The best way to exchange money is to do it in your home country. Call in advance a few banks and exchange houses and see which one gives you the best deals. I usually just go to my local bank.
I think they give me the best fees and make me feel safer. If not, I will go to my local exchange house. They will also have decent fees. When you go to legit places, you’re guaranteed the money will be real and not fake.
Before your trip, try to prepay everything you can. Hotels, transportation, packages, tours, everything that can be paid with a credit or debit card or bank transfers, do it in advance. This will save you time since it's better to arrive at your final destination at ease and ready to explore without having to worry about paying the bill.
Save With Plastic
When traveling, the least amount of cash you carry, the better. At touristy destinations, it's very common to get robbed. Luckily, I’ve never been robbed, but people close to me yes. Try to pay everything with your credit card when permitted.
That way you can easily track all your spendings and you avoid being without money if someone decides to steal from you. Another great tip for cards is to get a plan with no foreign transaction fees and always notify your bank so your card doesn't get blocked.
The safer way to get money when you’re already abroad is to get cash from an ATM. It’s the most cost-effective way. Try to use your bank’s ATM if available. If not, I recommend double-checking the fees and do it at the one with the lowest rate.
Also, limit the number of times you withdraw to minimize the number of transaction fees. Think about how much cash you'll need for a few days. Don’t use ATMs in nightclubs or in highly populated areas.
Banks are your final destination, sometimes they have the best deals and other times the worse. Call in advance a few banks and check which one gives you the best deals. You could also ask locals which banks they recommend. The good thing about banks is that they are safe and protected when taking larger amounts.
Airports Should Be Your Last Resort
Avoid airport kiosks! They have the worst fees since they have the advantage of being available for people who are desperate and in need at the airport. Some people don't have a choice and do it at the airport, but don't be one of those. Never at the airport!
Want to know more? Are you interested in becoming a contributor for Pedacitos? We'd love to hear your stories! Send me a message and I will get back to you!