How much money do you need to travel?
When thinking about travelling, one of the most common questions is how much money you should take. There are various costs you’ll need to budget for when working this out.
The cost of accommodation varies drastically depending on the place. You’re also likely to find a selection of hotels in all price brackets in major destinations. Research the average cost of the level of accommodation you desire to see whether you can afford to travel to a particular destination. If you want your money to go further, see what places offer you a good standard of accommodation on the nightly budget you can afford.
Getting around in your chosen destination can be a major cost if you don’t plan properly. Although it can be the easy option to hail a cab, if you effectively research public transport before you go, you can save yourself a lot of money. Get to know the routes available, the costs, how to book and where the stations are to save yourself the temptation to jump in a taxi.
Food and drink
The cost of living can vary dramatically from place to place and is a huge influencing factor when deciding how much money to take with you. As a basic daily cost, allow enough funds for three meals and research locally how much you can expect to pay – both eating out at a restaurant or buying basics from the supermarket. Various economic factors can affect the cost of food and drink at each destination, such as currency conversion rates, importing and exporting costs and the time of year. Do your research before you go, checking local websites and traveller forums for advice.
The cost of entertainment in tourist zones can be a lot higher than in less visited places. Regardless, set yourself a daily budget for entertainment, based on what you can afford. Research in advance to find things to do within that budget. Many cities offer tonnes of free activities, such as visiting museums, walking or cycling through parks and seeing famous landmarks. Mix in a range of free activities with your paid ones, and you’ll find it easier to stick to your budget. Many cities also offer tourist passes that could further save you money on top attractions. Also, take the time to research the places locals go to, and any budget-friendly areas; you’ll often find some real hidden gems in the process.
Travelling to a country with a weak currency can save you significant amounts of cash when coming to exchange your travel money. If travelling to a euro zone – where the local currency is currently strong against the pound – be sure to search for the best euro exchange rate before handing over your pounds. The most effective way to search for the best rates is to compare holiday money on a money comparison site.
Credit and debit cards
Some credit and debit cards can charge you in excess of five per cent of the cost of every transaction made. You are often charged a transaction fee, and then a currency exchange fee. Many places are also getting in on the trick of asking whether you’d like to pay in Pounds Stirling rather than the local currency. This effectively means that they will be charging you their rate to exchange your money to pounds, which is almost always going to be less favourable than your bank would charge. It’s always best to pay in the local currency. This tip – along with doing your research on the best credit or debit card to use abroad – could save you significantly on your travels.