If you are one of those who believe that the best things in life are usually free, then think again; although it may not be entirely true, you can stretch your hard earned travel savings to quite an extent in today's world with multi-purpose prepaid travel cards, and online discounted deals available.
Travelling and embracing cultures of different countries have been some of the most fortunate experiences I have had, which have given me insightful tips on how one can travel on a low budget yet have a great time. Whilst I am not suggesting staying at overcrowded dormitories or travelling in overnight buses, the few tips below may be useful without compromising on the travel experience.
Invest some time to find a cost effective prepaid travel card
First and foremost, we need foreign exchange if we are travelling abroad. Given the volatility of the global market, additional transactional costs, standing in queues at airports and exchange bureaus can be dampening to the holiday spirit. Hence I am glad I found a prepaid travel card which lets me lock the currency exchange rate, before I leave the country, so I am totally in control of what I am spending.
If you are travelling to different countries, consider loading multiple currencies prior to your travel, as it is useful especially when you’re shopping. It is also quick to set up, and is hassle-free and cost-effective. By using the same cash card over and over again, you could avail of further loyalty and benefits.
Consider shopping in the local flea markets for souvenirs and gifts for family. You may need to withdraw cash from an ATM in the local currency, for these local markets. If you are traveling to multiple countries, consider buying gifts where the dollar value is better. And if you need to go to the local groceries, a travel card (like gocash) would work wonderfully as you could shop in local currency rather than credit cards which charge hefty transaction charges.
Find the best deal
With so many awesome offers available online, do shop around; sometimes, you may need to make a call to negotiate the best deal. Further, if you have a destination in mind, sign up for alerts for offers available. Compare the costs of travelling by all modes of transport – rail, air, buses, or car rentals - especially if you are travelling in Europe or the USA. Some of these places offer really competitive pricing.
Consider your accommodation options
If you are travelling with family or as a larger group, consider renting out an apartment or staying with a local family (home stay); which is more personal than a hotel. Cooking in, or with your host is really useful especially if you have young picky eaters like my children. Of course, dining out has its own charm, but the costs of eating out can vary, depending on the location. However, when you eat out, you must try the local cuisine; usually a better and cheaper option than the global chains of restaurants.
Get city tourist cards
If you plan on doing a lot of sight- seeing, consider getting a city tourism card, which offers discounted and free access to the major attractions and museums, as well as free public transportation. Book your theatre tickets, concert tickets or entry to the amusement parks in advance.
Think about the young traveller
Of course, if you have a young adult in your family who wants to travel the world in his/her gap year or at the end of university term, consider adding a prepaid travel card to their travel fund, as really nothing is worse than being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no money. You could top up the travel card for them when needed, or in case of any emergency.
Take travel insurance
Last but not the least, ensure you have travel insurance, which takes care of most things when things go wrong, like if you miss a flight, or a bus or lose your baggage, fall ill, or even lose your card and need emergency cash.
I hope you find these tips quite useful which have made a world of difference to my travel pocket literally.
Keywords: cash card, travel card, currency exchange rate
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