Do you have a travel budget? Whether you’re watching your pennies or partying like its 1999, smart travellers keep track of spending while on the road.
There are many reasons why minding your finances makes good travel sense. If you make and stay on a tight travel budget, you want to ensure that you keep to that budget and don’t overspend. After all, running out of money while on holiday is a nightmare.
If you have more financial latitude, you should still care where your money goes, and be paying attention to the cost of products and value of services. It’s no fun being ripped off on holiday when you’ve worked hard to save up to enjoy a worry-free vacation. It’s even less fun to come home and be hit with massive bills (and exchange rates) a month after your vacation. These tips will help you make and stay on a travel budget so you can enjoy an affordable, worry-free holiday.
How to Make and Stay on a Travel Budget
1. Make a Budget
You can’t stay on a budget if you haven’t drawn up one first. Set up an old-school spreadsheet (Google Sheets) or download a smartphone App like Trail Wallet or iXpenselt. Enter your income or travel budget. Then enter your potential expenditure categories – transportation, accommodation, food, parking, incidentals, gifts – and their related budget amounts. (Put some thought into those numbers.) You can break these down further into sub-categories, i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner, groceries. You get the idea. The two columns should reconcile into neutral or positive territory. You don’t want to be in the red before you leave the house!
2. Monthly Deposit to US Dollar Account
How you choose to pay for travel costs matters as well. Minimizing currency hits with our low Canadian dollar is a top priority for any Canuck heading south this spring. Set up a monthly American dollar purchase, or deposit to a US dollar account on a regular basis, to minimize currency fluctuation impacts.
3. Watch Currency Exchanges
Pay attention to currency exchange rates and change money in bulk (if possible) when rates are favourable. (I wish I’d done this when our Canadian dollar was at $1.20 USD.)
4. Watch Your Expenditures
I find that this is the toughest part. It’s very easy to spend money on holiday. YOLO, right? If you’ve planned your budget with accurate numbers, you know exactly how much money you have to spend on meals, car rentals and hotel stays. Perhaps you’ve booked and paid for those in advance.
It’s the incidentals you need to watch for – the margaritas on the patio, the ukulele for cousin Eddie, the spur-of-the-moment whale-watching adventure. You can gift yourself in advance with special things (spa, outing, drinks) and don’t get lured off that plan and dazzled by shiny silver necklaces or must-have lederhosen. Plan a contingency fund if you feel that you’ll be tempted by impulse purchases.
5. Clip Coupons
Your frugal grandmother was a smart cookie. Follow her example and subscribe to Groupon or other coupon sites for your travel destination. There’s nothing quite like getting deals and saving money while on holiday. It leaves more travel budget for the fun stuff.
6. Look for Deals
If travelling with kids, research any and all restaurants, hotels and attractions that offer free food/stays/visits for kids under certain ages. Loads of travel dollars can be saved if you don’t have to purchase tickets, meals or rooms for the younger members of your travelling party.
7. Get a new SelloffVacations Travel FX Card
In the past, using your credit card when you were away on your vacation or business travel for purchases was easy. Until you got your bill, and the fees left you wondering if you would have been better off to pay in local currency.
The new SelloffVacations Travel FX card allows you to do just that. Purchase foreign currency at a low fee, lock in the exchange rate at time of purchase and secure those funds on your own card. It’s easy to make transactions directly using your SelloffVacations Travel FX card; you can use the card at millions of locations worldwide, including online, over the phone, and at ATMs – wherever MasterCard is accepted.
Other cards are converting CAD into local currency at time of purchases – Sell Off actually loads the card with a foreign currency at time of load, so you enjoy safe and convenient access to funds in the country or countries you are traveling to (only one currency is loaded on card at a time). Preloading in the country’s currency also means you lock in the foreign exchange rate, so the only fees you pay are the initial charge for the card and exchange rate at the time of conversion (live rates) which protect the customer from fluctuations while spending abroad.
Safe and Secure
You can load up to equivalent of $3,000 CDN in US Dollar, Mexican Pesos, British Pounds and Euros. Should you require more funds while you are away, the convenience of being reloadable is definitely a plus. You can also track your spending activity so you know if and when to reload the card. Find out more here.
Security is a priority: the cards are protected with PIN and chip technology. The 24/7 online support team is a dedicated fraud team that continually monitors card activity, and will contact you if transactions appear to be suspicious. You can spend money comfortably and securely while traveling with no links to your main bank account.
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Photo Credits: SellOffVacations, Shutterstock
Dislosure: The post is brought to you by SellOffVacations™. As always, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own.