How to: manage your money when travelling

Travelling will give you an incredible insight into new cultures and people. It’ll give you a tan, an open mind and permanent wanderlust. But it can also leave you in debt or stranded without money, if you aren’t careful. Here’s how to sort money, plan costs and figure out international money transfer so you can get on with the important things, like moonlit beach parties and turning a lovely shade of brown.

If you’re off abroad for more than a few months, espcially if you’re going to be working or staying in one country for a while, it´s a good idea to set up a bank account in the local currency or in dollars to access from ther. If you need to, you can immediately arrange to have money transferred from your account at home. Lloyds TSB International, for example, offers a quick and easy transfer service for free, and you can organise it online or by telephone in minutes.

Once you’ve booked your flights to Thailand, it’s easy to get so excited about full moon parties and azure water that thinking properly about your trip goes out the window, but try to calmly sit down and plan your itinerary. Buy a guidebook and think about travel costs, accommodation and food that fall within your budget. It’s a really good idea to keep back at least £500 for emergencies and unexpected extras.

If you’ve got the travel bug but no actual cash to fund your adventures, working holidays are a brilliant way to see the world, especially because you’ll stay in one place for long enough to feel part of the community. If you haven’t got months to spare but still want a frugal holiday, try WWOOFing – working on organic farms in exchange for food and a bed. Strike lucky and you can spend a few weeks eating like a king in the hot Tuscan sun in exchange for picking grapes – not a bad deal!

There are easy ways to keep costs down if you´re travelling on a wing and a prayer. Whenever possible, do as the locals do. Avoid taxis and take public transportation if you aren’t too bothered about comfort, and always try to eat and drink where locals do – the food is usually better and miles cheaper than in tourist traps. Travelling out of season is another great way of saving dosh, and if food is expensive in your destination, choose hostels with kitchens equipment and cook for yourself.

Vary how you carry money. Take cash in the local currency with you (taking dollars as well is a good move, as they are easy to exchange anywhere), as well as traveller’s cheques, and more than one debit card. Only carry one card and a little cash with you when you’re out and about, if possible. If you´ve got to have all your dosh with you at once, give half to a travelling companion, or carry cards and cash in a few different pockets. In seriously dodgy areas, try having two wallets – if one gets pickpocketed, you’ll have a backup.


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