The Dos and Don’ts of Travel Finances

Most people love to travel, whether they do it once a year for a long weekend or take a two-year leave from work to travel the globe. More often than not, they cite financial concerns as the reason why they can’t travel as often as they wish.

The truth is I’ve written a bit about this topic in the past in articles like How to Make Money and Travel the World where I asked several fellow travelers how they manage to finance their nomadic lifestyles. But for those of you who can’t just quit your job and uproot your family, here are some tips to cut corners while traveling so that you’ll be able to travel more often without breaking the bank.


This is me on a recent trip to Lake Ohrid in Macedonia

Traveling doesn’t have to be a money-sucking endeavor. For every celebrity on a luxurious five-star resort getaway there are ten savvy modern-day nomads who are on a bare bones journey to the most interesting sites in the world. While a long term bout of traveling is not for everyone, those who have the wanderlust in their hearts should know that there are countless ways that you can make your money stretch further – as long as you know what to avoid. Here is a great list of dos and don’ts of travel finances that can help you see the world for less.


Deals like this show up on the Kayak homepage

Do change the way you travel long distances – A train or bus journey broken up into smaller legs might be a lot cheaper than a long-haul plane trip and will give you the opportunity to see even more interesting locations along the way. This, of course, requires more time off from work so you may want to sign up for email alerts on sites like Kayak that will notify you when the price of your flights drops or there is an upcoming travel deal from your city.


A beautiful apartment like this in Paris could be half the price of a hotel

Don’t stay in traditional hotels – Traditional hotels will suck the money straight out of your pockets and keep you sequestered away from the other travelers in the area. Stay in hostels, homestays, with couch-surfing hosts, Air BnBs, WWOOFing, squats, campsites, beach huts, long boats – you get the idea! Here is a great list of ten alternative accommodation ideas.

Do check your credit report before you depart – Before you depart for your journey you should ensure that your financial dealings are all in order – nothing will spoil your trip more than an unexpected debt popping up, forcing you to come home early. Click here for your free credit report.


Do get a credit card with travel rewards – The day of travel checks are over, and if you’re like me you wait until you arrive at a destination to pull out local currency from an ATM machine. But it also helps to have a credit card on hand that rewards your spending with miles, gives you perks at the airport, and doesn’t charge you foreign transaction fees. I use CITI American Airlines Advantage, but there are lots to choose from. Check out Upgraded Points to see which best fits your travel style.


Local market in Darwin, Australia

Don’t eat out for every meal – In affordable regions like Southeast Asia, South Asia and Central America you can eat and drink like a royal whilst only spending minimally each day. That said, when you head to Australia, Europe or North America you should always try to stay at a hostel or apartment rental with a kitchen so that you can cook some of your meals (especially breakfast – hotel breakfast buffets can get expensive!) Preparing your own breakfast and lunch from local ingredients will save you a lot of cash and give you the opportunity to shop at the local farmer’s market or supermarket like a local. You’ll also save a lot if you purchase your wine, beer, or liquor from the supermarket. If you do eat out, ask the locals for recommendations. Oftentimes, bakeries, street vendors, and delis serve up amazing and cheap eats.


Tuscan villa, anyone?

Do share costs with other travelers – If you’re dying to spend the summer in Tuscan villa or beachside cottage on a Greek island, pull your resources with another couple, friend, or family to be able to afford your desired accommodation. For instance, Santorini is full of gorgeous vacation villas that come complete with sheets, towels, swimming pool, and rental car! Pair up with someone else to search for good deals on multi-family rentals.

Don’t be too rigid in your traveling style – Remember, traveling is a luxury that many people only ever dream about, and so you should always remember to smile and take it easy! Don’t be too rigid in your plans – sometimes the best experiences are down the roads that you never intended to take at all.

Have any of your own dos or don’t of travel finances to share? Leave us a question or comment below!

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