Smart overseas spending tips – Travel without trauma

When swept away on the winds of holiday fun, it can be hard not to loosen the purse strings a little overseas. There is so much to see and do, so many places to eat and drink, and such diversity in accommodation options! Nobody could blame you for going a little wild.

However, there are some tried and true methods for avoiding the big spend while on your big overseas experience. Whether you’re partying in Rio or relaxing on a South Pacific beach, keep these helpful overseas spending tips in mind.

Check the exchange rate

The first thing you should do before planning your overseas finances is make sure you’re well aware of the current exchange rate. This single number could define how much you spend on your entire trip, even if you think you’ve been frugal!

For example, if you travelled to the UK around 27 April 2013, you would’ve paid about 1.50 Australian Dollars for every 1 British Pound. That means a £3 cup of coffee would actually cost you about $4.50.

But if you travelled to the UK on 15 February 2015, you would’ve paid about 2 Australian Dollars for every 1 British Pound. That means your £3 cup of coffee will set you back almost $6.

Research the exchange rate of the country you’re visiting and make sure you factor it into your plans.

Get insured

Losing belongings whilst overseas is heart breaking, but suffering injury or some other kind of medical event can be bank breaking.

As a tourist, medical bills overseas can cost a fortune, even in countries with a highly subsidised government health plan. However, with the appropriate travel insurance you could be putting yourself in a much safer position to bear these costs without ruining the rest of your holiday. Take a short wander to Virgin Travel Insurance to see if there are cover plans that suit your travel needs.

Make a budget

Now that you have the exchange rate and insurance sorted, you can begin to formulate a budget!

It’s not exactly the most fun aspect of preparing to go overseas, but having a strict and detailed budget could be the difference between a successful holiday and a horrendous, debt-inducing affair.

Your budget should break down every aspect of your trip, allowing you to figure out precisely what you will be up to each day and what you are willing to spend. Do some research on what tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels are available in your chosen destination, then decide what your upper limit is. You don’t need to plan each and every activity down to the letter, so long as you have a good idea of what is available and what you are willing and able to afford.

Don’t forget to take into account the exchange rate when making these plans.

Take out foreign cash

Another great way to set a limit on how much you spend on a day-to-day basis is to take out a sum of the appropriate foreign cash either before travelling or just after you arrive.

If you are adhering to a set, physical limit, there’s no way you can overspend because you will run out of bank notes. It’s also much easier (and involves less spreadsheets) to budget a pile of cash because you can physically separate the notes and see what you will have each day, and you will easily be able to tell the rate at which you are spending it.

Using your credit card overseas

Your credit card could be a good travelling companion in case you need back up (or even as your primary payment tool). Credit cards are great for when you have a sudden expense to pay, or have a bill that is higher than the cash you have. Though you’ll still need to exercise restraint and understand what you can afford, a credit card can make you feel a lot safer when travelling on longer journeys. Make sure to look around at different credit card options and potential fees involved to see which is appropriate for you.

To learn more about spending in foreign lands, we’ve created an in-depth look at your overseas spending options.

What are your overseas spending tips?