To be safe about traveling and avoid spending more than you have to, check out these travel tips/reminders.
1. Don’t forget to let your bank know you will be traveling. Forgetting to call your bank before traveling (in and outside of the United States) is a common error that even frequent travelers make; it slips your mind until the plane touches down, and by then it is often too late. This applies to debit cards as well as credit cards.
2. Don’t overlook ATM fees. While traveling, each time you go get cash you will likely incur a fee of some kind.
3. Don’t fail to make a plan for getting to your hotel from the airport. That first ride from the airport may be your most financially vulnerable moment of any trip, the time when you have no idea how far it is, what a fair price is for the ride, whether you have lower-cost alternatives such as a train or bus, or even whether your hotel has a free shuttle. It is best to figure this out before your trip.
4. Don’t forget to add an international roaming plan for your phone. How much could a few texts, a bit of mapping, a few email checks and a batch of social media updates cost per day? Plenty, so be sure to contact your cell phone provider in advance to see what your options are.
5. Research the local exchange rate. Having done a little research on the local exchange rate against your home currency can make a huge difference. Often it takes a couple of days to get a handle on how much things cost, but this can take even longer if you have not looked into it beforehand.
6. Keep small bills handy. Changing or withdrawing large amounts of money minimizes the fees you will pay to get local currency, but it also means you will be traveling with far more cash, and larger bills, than you would have on you at home. It is wise to make smaller denominations of currency easily accessible. Make money preparation part of your morning routine: As you are packing your bag, make sure you have a variety of small bills and coins ready for purchases such as food, souvenirs, and attraction entry fees. Put away larger bills in into a secure part of your wallet or bag.
7. Don’t assume you know how much to tip. Tipping customs vary immensely from place to place. They can also vary from industry to industry as well. In one country, a standard percent tip is customary in a restaurant, but it might already be included, so you will want to check the bill.
8. Trim your wallet. Before you leave, take the time to go through your wallet and take out everything except the necessities (a universal credit card and a backup, an identification card, an insurance card, etc.). Not only will it help you travel lighter, but also if your wallet is lost or stolen, you will have less to replace.
9. Don’t leave your valuables unsecured. Shoving your wallet in your back pocket or your purse over your shoulder is such a natural and almost automatic action that almost all of us will do this at some point in our travels. It is also the easiest way to get pickpocketed, as these spots are both obvious to thieves and difficult to protect.
10. Divide money/types of money in different places. Whenever possible, split up your travel cash and even credit cards into multiple safe spots. If you have all your money in one place, it only takes one time for a thief to wipe you out.