One of the trickiest aspects of going on holiday is managing your budget, especially when there are so many places you want to visit. This is something which happens to me all time. Whether you are travelling by yourself, or with a group of friends and relatives, these tips will help you manage your money while travelling.
Setting a daily budget is very important, and it can be done depending on what you want to do in that particular day. If you only plan on visiting the main attractions, consider investing in a sightseeing card and only bring money to purchase souvenirs. If you plan on attending a show or going on a tour, try and check if you can get a discount with your sightseeing pass (the Torino+Piemonte card also covers theatre shows, while the London Pass includes special tours and cruises). Also, never spend a lot of money on your first day, and make sure your daily budget is higher around the end of your trip. Try and do your shopping in the final days of your stay. That way, you also have the chance to see where all the best prices are, and you will have enough time what exactly you want to buy and what not.
This is an obvious tip, but you would be surprised at how many people ignore it. The more money you have in your wallet, the more tempted you are to spend it all. Keep your money in a safe place, and only bring what you think you’ll need. If you find the best current accounts for you, making regular withdrawls abroad shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg. Also, there’s always the chance that you might lose your wallet (or it might get stolen), so it’s good to have some spare money to make up for what you’ve lost. You can also bring a debit or a credit card, but don’t forget to have some cash with you in case the shop you’re in doesn’t accept cards. Another thing I always do is keep my money in a separate place from my debit card and other important documents (passport, student card etc.). Sometimes you might find yourself in the position of having to bring your passport or ID along, and you can at least make sure that those are safe if you ever lose your wallet.
This is the first thing I do when I’m doing research on the city I want to visit. Sightseeing passes are small cards, which you can either order online or purchase from places like tourist information desks and travel agencies. What these passes do is grant you free entry to a large number of museums for free, offer discounts in select stores and restaurants, and sometimes even cover your public transportation expenses. Another advantage is that in some museums you might not even have to wait in line for your ticket. There are various types of sightseeing passes available, depending on how much time you plan on spending in the city of your choice. This option helps you save both time and money.
Some of the biggest and most tourist-friendly cities of the world have these kinds of cards, such as London, Paris, Sydney, Berlin, New York, Amsterdam, Florence, and many others. All you need is internet access and you can easily gain the information you need. I had the chance to go on a four-day trip to Turin, and their Torino+Piemonte card covered both museum and transportation fees.
Some cities might not have a sightseeing pass, but that doesn’t make them less worthy of your time. Prague, for example, makes up for that by offering sightseeing tours at a low cost. Martin Tour, for example, is a local agency I relied on when vacationing in Prague. With this travel agency I went on tours to several places located further away from the heart of the city and even to smaller towns nearby. Each sightseeing tour includes guided visits, and transportation fees are also included in the price. Therefore, you don’t have to pay for a taxi or take several buses to reach the destination of your choice. As a general rule, sightseeing tours cater to tourists from all around the world and have various departure points which are easy to reach.
Ideally, you should be able to exchange money before you leave on your trip. However, if the currency you need isn’t available, you might have to do that when you arrive at your destination. Many tourists get tricked when exchanging money, so it’s best to try and avoid that as much as possible by knowing the exchange rate. In Prague, for example, tell the staff from the exchange office how much money you want to exchange, and always ask them how much you are going to receive for that amount. Even though the exchange rates are visible, they are listed in a really confusing manner. Also, some workers practice their own exchange rates, so you stand to lose a lot of money if you are not cautious.
There are so many aspects you need to be aware of when managing your money on the road. However, if you research beforehand, and if you’re very careful with your budget, you can enjoy your vacation without worrying.