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One of the biggest barriers to travel – and a major cause of travel anxiety – is money. What happens if you run out? Why is everything costing more than expected? And how can you avoid the costs of currency exchange?

Better travel means offering more people the chance to wander. It’s an essential part of being human but one that many are cut off from because of money problems.

To help you afford to take more and better trips, I talked to Wally, an outreach specialist at money.com.

He’s an expert on financial matters and has a particular interest in helping travellers save money. For instance, check out this post running through the best travel credit cards.

I’m no expert on money but Wally is. During our conversation, he offered so much information on how to travel and save money simultaneously (who knew that was possible?!). There’s plenty here that I’ll carry with me into my travels and I hope you will too.

Let’s get straight to the point.

Top 3 Money-Saving Tips for Travellers?

1) Buy less stuff

Your focus when traveling should be to enjoy your destination and truly sink into the culture of the place you’re visiting – whether that’s visiting a museum, a park, or learning from the people and places around you about their experiences in their native land.

Take some time to enjoy their cuisine, visit their landmarks, and submerge yourself in local affairs. Just don’t forget to take pictures!

After all, what good is traveling if you don’t create something valuable to remind you of your adventures – be that a photo or a drawing.

You’ll appreciate this many years after your trip and have memories to share with loved ones, as well as reasons to go back (or not!)

Buying less things on your trip can save you money on extra luggage on your trip back home, so think hard about what kind of souvenirs you want. 

2) Travel during off-season

This one’s a no-brainer, but you may also find yourself traveling during the peak seasons for reasons outside of your control.

If not and you do have a say on when your next trip is coming up, take ample time to strategically plan every move – well, not every little detail, but at least figure out what you want to do each day, what your goals are for the overall trip, and put that into planning mode using a calendar app or a notepad. 

If you plan on visiting local museums and historical sites, research your destination’s public transport options beforehand, and try to book your visits ahead of time. If you do it right, you could also score free admission days for certain museums or parks – just give it a shot. 

3) Figure out your meal strategy

Much has been said about overspending on food while traveling, and this next pointer will be no different. Think of your priorities before jumping on a plane to Switzerland. Develop a meal plan that will fit nicely into your budget and leave room for exploring your itinerary.

Remember the plan you’ve created and take some time to think about your meals. Dinner menus are typically more expensive than lunch menus, and since you might be tired from all the walking there might not be a definitive need for having a huge meal prior to going to bed.

Having a heartier lunch might also help at staving off cravings during your travels, which can add up to a hefty amount considering prices for snacks are typically higher at stations, shops, etc. 

Unless you’re traveling with the sole purpose of enjoying your destination’s cuisine, take a moment to plan what your day-to-day meals will look like, and I promise this will save you lots of money that could be better spent (or saved) elsewhere. 

Bonus: Research different banks

Do an online search for your preferred bank’s presence in the target destination. See if you can find forums or blogs that talk about simple, low-fee banks or cards that allow you to convert your currency while you shop, and see if there are ways where you can avoid those pesky withdrawal fees from local ATMs.

Given the ongoing pandemic, is there money to be made from investing in the travel industry?

Travel and tourism is built-in into almost every country’s infrastructure, and although it might be some time before the industry is back to its pre-pandemic levels, most experts say investing now will help support these companies while the going is tough.

Whilst it is true that this sector is thought to experience a sudden increase once the pandemic is under control, many experts believe the surge above pre-pandemic levels won’t last enough to yield substantial gains for investors. 

As with all investing, make sure you do your homework when researching a company’s financial stability, including its assets, cash on hand, and outstanding debt. 

What are the best ways to grow a travel savings fund?

1) Cut back on expenses

A lot of the food we buy on the go, including your morning coffee on the way to work, lunch, and dinner as you drive back home, can be prepared easily at home by taking some time and effort to cook your own meals, preparing your day’s worth of coffee in a travel mug for work, and storing leftovers from meals for the next day.

All of these tactics combined can lead to thousands of dollars in savings over the course of a few years. You can also learn to be a better cook while you’re at it – which is a great skill. 

2) Reconsider your monthly subscriptions

In this day and age, a lot of us are mad about the amassing variety of services available to us online, including streaming services, gift box kits, and other things that aren’t crucial to our experience. Carefully track your monthly payments and drop out of any membership that you rarely use (gym memberships included).

Pick up old habits like reading or exercising, which contribute to your body’s overall health and wellness while saving you a pretty penny.

Do you have any favourite travel cards? (I use Monzo!)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is certainly one of the best options for frequent travelers as it includes the most benefits one could possibly expect from a credit card.

Aside from the relatively high annual feel, which is $550, this card gives you travel deal discounts that make the annual fee seem like nothing:

TSA precheck, access to over 1,300 airport lounges, free monthly bike and scooter trips on Lyft, plus 15% off all rides through their complimentary Lyft Pink membership.

Chase has also partnered with DoorDash to reward cardholders with food delivery discounts, as well as credits for purchases.

Thom Brown Travel - Traveller with Monzo online bank card

How can travel enhance a person’s career?

Traveling often puts us in other people’s shoes, making us look at life through the lens of someone different but very similar to us, helping us grow out of older mindsets that hold us back in terms of being thankful and living a fulfilling life. 

Learning about other people’s culture also helps us appreciate who we are more, giving us an augmented view of reality in its entirety – we’re all here, we’re all human beings with wants and desires who work/live in groups while holding contrasting outlooks of life and love and everything in between. 

You also learn to become scrappy thanks to small traveling mishaps that test our patience and goodwill. This helps us grow out of childish thoughts that nothing must ever go wrong in our lives and that we’re here for the sole purpose of achieving what we set out to do. 

As we move through our career, we come across a variety of personalities that go in-tune with who we are and what we believe. When we travel, that perspective is expanded, as we adopt new customs and beliefs when meeting interesting new people on our travels, which helps us develop our own voice and purpose in the world. 

You also establish long-lasting relationships with folks you meet on the road. This can contribute greatly to our overall satisfaction with life and our work, making our experiences both fulfilling and joyous.

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