How to manage your money? Or how to find enough to travel without the nagging thoughts of unpaid bills and savings and medical insurance…Lets face it, we can never have ‘enough,’ so the best thing is to stop telling ourself that we will travel only we have when you have saved an ‘X’ amount of money. That usually never happens.
So why not just strap up the backpack and get going? I mean, yeah, money is necessary so if we aren’t lucky enough to win a lottery, why not make the best of what we can?
Here are a few tips that may come in handy. This might not be the “conclusive” idea to manage your money for travel, but it could be good start.
If you have a fixed plan in mind, start NOW
- Book your airline tickets well in advance, you have great chances of getting lower fares.
- Try flying on a particular airline to clock up your air-miles which you can redeem for tickets later
- Organise your tour beforehand. Search the internet for best deals. Often organized tours (especially in places that do not have a large number of tourists and hence amenities) work out cheaper than what you would spend by going on your own.
- Get a credit card that offers the lowest charges on international transactions or has money back policy
- Some cards have certain free airport services, use them
(If you are in the UAE, pick up a Gocash from UAE Exchange, its a 6 currency prepaid travel card and very good if you are a frequent international traveler)
6. Keep a track of your account every month. Put aside a certain amount (no matter what) for the travel ahead.
My personal saving tips
- I take the B&B and couchsurfing concept seriously and don’t mind bargaining over rents.
- I am usually okay with joining up with my fellow hotel mates for day trips. Numbers bring down the cost.
- If someone offers a free drink/coffee/tea/ride/lunch or stay, I grab it! (Refer to the safety section on this)
- Soveniers? Whoever has heard of them? A dozen relatives? Two dozen friends? Well….my backpack is too small to put in all that stuff!!! Postcards are wonderful!
- I dont mind thumbing for a ride or take the slow train..or walk.
- Those annoyingly jingling coins (change) you get at shops and restaurants? Well, it is money. I put them all in a box (actually several with different labels) and NEVER touch it till it is time to take it to the nearest money exchange and exchange it for dollars. That way if I am going on a short 2-3 weeks trip, I have some spending money ready.
- A cup of Starbucks costs Dh11, Costa Dhs13, Tim Horton Dh8, McDonald coffee Dh5 – and being a coffee person I average 1-2cups of this (in various combinations) per day. The day I book my tickets, I cut down all these and because I have budgeted for it through the day, all that I would otherwise spend on coffee goes into the savings box. I have saved up to USD 5 a day in coffee. (USD 5 is B&B for 2 days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia!)
- Stop shopping. When retail-therapy craving hits the ceiling, window shop.
- Start cooking at home. I am such a bad cook that I could stop eating altogether but that really helps keep the weight down too.
- Stop calling and start mailing more often. Or skype