Most of us want to travel, right? But sometimes our wallet is telling us we shouldn’t. Well, sometimes a trip can be much more affordable than we think. Of course, that’s not to say there are plenty of reasons not to travel if your budget is tight.
The best thing you can do is research and weigh your options. This article offers you a chance to get started doing just that. Read ahead if you want to travel without forgetting about your finances.
Use Your Rewards Credit Card
By traveling with a rewards credit card, you can save money on your travels by using a chase credit card or any other credit card. Then exchange these reward points to free nights and other benefits as airline ticket discounts at appropriate airline companies like United, Southwest, British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Air, Virgin Atlantic, and Air France/KLM.
Should You Even Be Doing This?
Traveling is often said to be one of the most important things people can do. And it’s true that seeing more of the world is a great thing. But sometimes people only want to travel because they’re under some incorrect impressions. Sometimes, people make out that people who don’t travel, or don’t travel often, can’t be very wise or cultured. This sort of mindset leads people to believe that they’re missing out on mind-altering experiences if they don’t travel. But it’s important to remember that this aspect is wildly exaggerated. It’s a myth. Traveling won’t make you any wiser, or any smarter, or any more cultured. That sort of stuff comes from trying to gain a deeper understanding of other people – something you can do at home by simply reading more!
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that you should only be traveling if you really want to do it. Don’t do it to impress others or to try to make yourself more worldly. Otherwise, that just turns the whole endeavor into the ultimate waste of money.
Of course, your desire to travel isn’t the only thing to consider here. There are still more practical ways of looking at it. Can you actually afford to travel? The fact is that many young people go traveling when their finances seem to scream “Don’t do it!”. If you have a lot of debt piling up – as many young people do – it might be better to deal with your debts a bit more before you fly off somewhere. Otherwise, you could be harming your finances in the long run.
Considering Cheap Locations
If you have a destination in mind already, then you might not think this applies all that much to you. But it depends how specific your preferred destination is. Let’s say you want to go to Japan. Well, do you want to go to Japan or do you specifically want to go to Tokyo? (People usually mean ‘Tokyo’ when they say they want to go to Japan!) And if you’re going to Tokyo, where in Tokyo do you want to go? (People often underestimate just how massive the city of Tokyo is. Clue: bigger and busier than any American city!) My point is that your specific destination might not be as specific as you think.
With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure you research the destination thoroughly and find the cheapest place to travel to. You also have to consider the price of transport and food in that area. If you are traveling to a country to see a specific city, consider accommodation just outside of the city. Getting daily transport into the main city might not be cheap. But you’ll probably save money overall.
Of course, if you’ve just got general travel on the brain, then you might want to have a look at a good mix of cheap locations. Many people who aren’t too fussed about where exactly they go will look for whatever is cheapest at the time of the year they want to go.
Traveling With Money: Your Options
Here’s how most people travel with money when it comes to going on vacation. When they’re at home, they go to the nearest facility that lets them exchange world currencies. They’ll order, for example, 445 Euros for the price of 500 dollars. They’ll then put all of that cash in some sort of container and take it with them when they travel. A lot of people will actually carry that cash in their wallet as they go from place to place.
Of course, having some cash on you is always a smart idea. After all, there are going to be plenty of places out there that won’t accept card or cheque. But a lot of people don’t actually consider card or cheque options at all. They think that sort it all out via cash is quickest and cheapest, and so is the best option. To be fair, it is the quickest and cheapest. But it’s also the most dangerous. If you do go for the cash method, make sure you leave most of the cash in the hotel safe.
Really, you should be looking into other options. Credit cards and debit cards are often accepted wherever you’re going. But you may understandably be concerned about international fees. It’s true that banks will often charge egregious fees when people take out money overseas using their regular cards. But this is why you need to speak directly to your bank about travel options. It’s best to look into using card at the lowest fees possible than it is to risk taking absurd amounts of cash.
There will be plenty of travel options available to you. One of the most popular is travelers checks. These work in a fashion alarmingly close to cash, and are accepted in most places with a thriving tourist industry. An ever safer bet is a travel card. These can be prepaid or can be hooked up to your home bank account. Some cards are more rewarding than others, though, so make sure you give the whole thing a good looking into.
Hotels vs Renting
For many people, their favorite thing about the entire trip is the hotel. It really lends to the sense of unreality that we all long for when we’re traveling. It’s an entirely different experience to being at home. We have people coming in and cleaning after all. We open doors with the swipe of a card. We can have food brought up to us with just a quick phone call for room service. In fact, a lot of people find it hard to picture a vacation of any kind without a hotel. (Unless they’re thinking of things like camping vacations.)
But hotels are one of the biggest expenses when it comes to travel. (Especially if you’re using their room service! Protip: if you’re using a hotel, go try out some of the local cuisine instead!) Hotels also require you to rely on others for cooked meals. This causes your overall costs to skyrocket.
One thing you could consider is a vacation rental. When you say “vacation rental”, people often think about big, luxurious houses. But you can rent out small apartments or even rooms. This can be perfect for people who are traveling on a budget. It means you have to cook for yourself in a rented kitchen, but I actually see that as a big benefit. But before you consider the savings on food, it becomes very clear that vacation rentals often work out cheaper than hotels. The average night in a New York City hotel, for example, will set you back about a hundred dollars more than a night in a rental. There are also loads of other benefits, but we’re going to stick to the finances here and move on.
What About Travel Insurance?
Keeping your finances in mind doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be spending if you can help it. There are several point where you’re going to have to spend a little in order to help prevent having to paying a lot more in future. I’m referring, of course, to insurance. And one thing that people who are worried about money often do is skip out on travel insurance.
This is understandable, in a way. Most people don’t find themselves sick or injured while on vacation. Of course, you could say this about any stretch of a week or two while you’re at home. It’s not a common occurrence in the life of an average person. So travel insurance can seem like a scam, like something you don’t really need. But when injuries do happen, they become a massive problem wherever you were at the time. And if it happens while you’re abroad, you could find yourself in dire financial straits.
It’s true that most travel insurance policies are offensively overpriced. But if you go somewhere without travel insurance, you could end up getting substandard treatment if something goes wrong. You could also end up paying a terrible financial price. Consider a traveler getting injured while in America. If they’re not correctly insured, they could end up with massive medical debts.
Travel insurance can be pricey. Getting it sometimes seems like the opposite of what you should be doing if you need to be careful about your finances. It’s true that, in all likelihood, you’re going to come home without a scratch and wonder why you even bothered getting it. But going without it can present way too much of a risk to both your health and your finances.