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10 money rules every 20-something should follow while travelling


With travel finally back on the agenda, it's time to get jet-setting again. But first, there are 10 key money rules you should know before you go.

Travel's finally back! After a tough few years, it's time to get back out there and experience the world.

But before you 20-somethings grab your bags and head for the airport, you need to get your finances in order.

1. Arranging travel? Go hunting for bargains

One of the big traps for new travellers is the package deal – all accommodation and travel included. When it's bundled, it must be more cost-effective, right?

Well, not necessarily. Although package deals can be great if you're sticking to a rigid schedule or travelling with a group, they're not always a better deal. Compare prices rather than go for the easy option.

For example, if you know you're doing a lot of incidental travel during your holiday, it can be cheaper to book each leg of the journey separately.

Sales and last-minute discounts pop up all the time. As long as you're willing to be flexible with your specific travel days, you can end up saving quite a bit of cash.

2. Buy travel insurance before you go

Travel insurance is arguably the most important factor you can invest in before you start jet-setting.

Now, when travel insurance comes up in conversations, a lot of the focus tends to be on medical care and cancellation costs.

Fair enough too – in the event you end up in the hospital or have to extend your stay, you don't want to get hit with a massive bill.

Budget-conscious travellers may want to consider a policy that only covers medical expenses.

For example, Southern Cross Travel Insurance recently launched their International Medical Only policy which includes cover for overseas medical treatment and expenses.

But travel insurance can cover a lot of other areas, too.

If you're looking for something a little more comprehensive, Southern Cross Travel Insurance offers more than just health care.

You can get cover for loss of cash, personal documents, changed trip plans, rental vehicle excess coverage, personal liability and more.

Having the right travel insurance can mean the difference between a minor hiccup in your trip and a full-blown overseas meltdown. It'll help you stay calm and ensure a safe journey back into the wide world.

Four travellers on a tram, sightseeing and taking photographs

3. Speak to your bank before you get on the plane

If you're heading overseas, speak to your bank or financial institution before you go. Otherwise, your bank may flag overseas transactions as potential fraud. That can mean your card gets cancelled, which is less than ideal when you're in a foreign country.

A quick phone call to your bank can make sure your dream holiday doesn't turn into a nightmare. Some banks even let you handle this through their app.

4. Keep an eye on the exchange rate

When you're travelling overseas, it's easy to get tripped up by seemingly cheap price tags.

But are you really getting good value for your money? Or is the exchange rate going to stiff you when you get your credit card bill?

With the exchange rates fluctuating near-daily, keep a close eye on it throughout your travels. This way, you can avoid a hit to the hip pocket when you think you're getting a bargain.

A young couple camping

5. Watch out for card fees

If you don't bank with a provider that doesn't charge for international transactions, sort out how you're going to manage your finances before you go.

You might opt for a travel debit card or exchange a substantial amount of cash for local currency. However, we'd suggest it's worth having a combination of payment methods available.

And speaking of which…

6. Have local currency handy

Wherever you go in the world, cash is king.

Having some local currency even before you take off is a great idea. It can make things much easier when you land. Expenses such as visas, taxis and tipping will be more convenient.

This also means you don't need to pay exorbitant money exchange fees from sellers at the airport.

7. Stash money safely

Once you've got your hands on some cash, you want to make sure to keep it safe.

Unfortunately, wherever you go in the world there are people who look at tourists as easy marks.

There are steps you can take to avoid this. Dressing inconspicuously, not unfolding comically large maps in public areas and just making an effort to blend in are a few of the steps you can do.

All of this said, be careful how you carry your cash. Some of the ways people get around this dilemma include:

  • Carrying a false wallet
  • Undershirt slings that conceal cash
  • Socks with hidden zippers
  • Underwear with secret wallet sections

Of course, not all of these may be necessary. Just use discretion. It's better to be overly cautious than to learn the hard way.

Woman taking selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower

8. Bring a multi-plug extension lead

When you're travelling overseas, you need to get all of your devices charged. That way, you can easily document your trip and stay in touch with everyone back home.

However, it's trickier to do that if you only have an Australian charger for your devices. Bring a multi-plug extension lead with you so you'll only need 1 travel adapter to plug into the wall. It's a handy way to save yourself some cash. You won't need to buy a whole range of adapters for different devices.

9. Check your luggage entitlements

Whether you're travelling by plane, rail or road, always check your luggage entitlements.

They should be clearly outlined on your ticket. If they're not, confirm the information by phone or email before you travel. After all, you don't want to be stuck discarding items at the airport to make weight or paying exorbitant excess fees.

10. Don't overdo it at the airport

Lastly, make sure you don't needlessly burn cash in the airport bar. After all, drinks on international flights are usually free.

Get a quote from Southern Cross Travel Insurance – Travel safe with the travel insurance experts.

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