How to save money when travelling overseas

Keeping spending to a minimum can be easier than you think.

It’s a sad reality that accessing your own money when travelling overseas can be costly (to put it mildly). Whether it’s paying extortionate ATM fees or using a credit card for purchases, your costs can add up all too quickly. But there are plenty of ways to make sure your dream getaway doesn’t break the bank, and all it takes is some forward planning. Travel savvy with our top tips for saving money overseas…
Keep ATM visits to a minimum
According to the Westpac 2016 Travel Finance Report, women spend $15 billion overseas each year – and a huge $148.5 million of that is on international ATM fees.
But keeping those transactions to a minimum can be easier said than done. No matter how much pre-holiday budgeting you do, it’s all too easy to overlook the additional cost of international ATM fees, especially when it comes to emergencies or “once-in-a-lifetime” treats.
And while women may spend less than men on ATM fees each year, there’s still a substantial amount of money being spent on accessing your own cash. That’s where a little more in depth forward-planning comes in handy….
An itinerary is a must
Will you be doing day trips or relaxing at the resort? A clear day-to-day plan makes it so much easier to budget beforehand – meaning you can pay for day trips and transport in advance (or even in the airport before you fly) to avoid unnecessary cash withdrawals and charges.
Think about your food and drink options
Will you be cooking in your villa or dining at the local restaurants? Be sure to carry some cash in case they don’t accept cards or you need to leave a tip.
Do your research
Of course, no matter how much you prepare, it’s easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit and be a little looser with your budgeting rules under the Tuscan sun. That’s where the right bank card could save your skin.
With your Westpac bank card, you get guaranteed access to the Global ATM Alliance network means you’ve got over 50,000 ATMs worldwide that you can use without a withdrawal fee. You can find the closest one to wherever you’re staying using the mobile banking app. If you know you won’t have Wi-Fi access and don’t want to face more fees with international roaming, take a look before you fly – easy!
Consider unexpected costs
Before you fly, use an online budgeting tool and let the professionals think of things that may never have crossed your mind. Let’s be honest, you’re probably never going to factor in an allowance for emergencies or last-minute day trips, but someone else will. Smart.
Have you got the best phone plan?
We’ve all been stung by an extortionate phone bill after travelling overseas, but nowadays you can make calls, send texts and even access the internet abroad without paying through the nose for it. Find out what plans your current service provider has – this may be a daily add-on for a set price or a pre-agreed update to your contract – and if you still think the price is too high, shop around to see who can offer you the most cost-effective deal.
Set up alerts
Exchange rates change all the time, but one way to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck is to exchange your money when the rate is at its most profitable for you. Of course, you don’t want to be manually checking the rates for weeks before you fly, but a currency tracking app will do the hard work for you by giving a constant overview of rates. A must-have for anyone who loves to travel.
Airbnb your home
Cover the cost of your hotel without dipping into your savings by renting your home – or even a room – on Airbnb. The site allows you to safely list or book accommodation anywhere in the world, meaning you’ll have someone back home to water your plants while you explore a new destination, plus guaranteed cash into your bank account. It doesn’t get better!
Plan your packing
It’s all too easy to leave toiletries and essentials out when you’re packing and buy them at the airport instead, but you’ll certainly be paying more if you don’t pre-purchase those must-haves. Similarly, an overweight bag could cost you dearly if you have to fork out for extra luggage allowance. Remember to save some weight and room in your case for the flight home – we have a feeling you’ll be bringing plenty back with you…
Now you’re not worrying about crazy fees and blowing your budget, isn’t it time you booked your next holiday?
Brought to you by Westpac's Ruby Connection

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