International travel has become a lot more popular lately with airfares becoming affordable. When planning for a trip abroad, one tends to pay most attention to the major expenses like airfare, accommodation, car rentals, etc. However, there are several inconspicuous expenses that can eventually add up to a lot and leave you wondering where you spent your money.
If you are looking to take a vacation abroad, a little budgeting and planning can go a long way in letting you enjoy a stress-free vacation. In this article, we will list some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when planning a trip abroad.
1. Not Informing Your Bank about Your Upcoming Travel
Due to rampant identity theft cases coming to light, banks usually do not authorize card-related purchases to be made in foreign countries. So, if you are travelling abroad but haven’t informed your bank about the same, your card might be declined at a POS terminal abroad. To save yourself the unnecessary frustration of arranging for payment, and making a call to your banker, it is best to let your bank know in advance about your travel plans.
2. Exchanging Currency at the Airport Itself
Many travellers make the mistake of not researching the exchange rate and relying on currency exchange outlets located inside airports for local currency. These outlets are notorious for charging a high exchange fees, not to mention lower exchange rates. If you wish to carry cash, get your currency exchanged beforehand. The other option is to exchange currency at a recognized bank or ATM in the country you’re travelling to.
3. Forgetting about Bills at Home
Out of sight is out of mind, and this applies to your bills. If you’re travelling for a long duration of 3-4 week, don’t forget to make the necessary arrangements so that your bills being generated for last month can be paid off in time. You can also automate your routine bill payments to be paid on time during your absence.
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4. Forgetting to Switch Your Mobile Phone Plan
Horror stories of people racking up massive phone bills while travelling abroad are not unheard of. International calling rates are usually prohibitively expensive. To ensure you stay connected to family and friends while travelling, enquire and switch to an appropriate cell phone plan before commencing your trip. If there is no suitable plan for the country you are travelling to, you can always buy a local pre-paid SIM card in the country you’re travelling to.
5. Carrying Out Financial Transactions on Public Wi-Fi
Free public Wi-Fi spells bad news for carrying out financial transactions while travelling. Sensitive information like account number and details can be leaked without you knowing it. Once you connect to a public network, background processes on your phone are connected to that network as well, making it even more vulnerable to attacks.
Refrain from using public Wi-Fi to do financial transactions like logging into your net banking account, entering sensitive information like passwords, making online payments, checking bank balance online. Use an internet data plan to make online payments while travelling and remember to switch off the ‘Connect to networks automatically’ option on your device. Using a VPN when connecting to a network is another way of staying safe.
6. Not Arranging for Multiple Money Options
It is important to be well-prepared and financially equipped when you are travelling abroad. Explore various money options that you can carry with you on your trip like international credit cards, pre-paid travel cards/forex cards, cash, etc. This way, you will have a fallback option if your credit card or prepaid card is not accepted in the country you’re travelling to.
7. Keeping Your Cash/Cards All Together
When travelling, make sure you distribute your cash//cards in various places in your luggage. This way, if some item of your luggage is stolen/misplaced, you won’t be left stranded without money. Always keep some cash and a card on your person. Other cards/cash can be distributed in your cabin and checked-in luggage separately or be left behind in the hotel.
8. Using Your Credit Card Abroad Without Checking the Fees Applicable
Depending on the type of financial transaction you are carrying out abroad, there are some additional fees that are applicable. These include foreign currency conversion, foreign transaction charges, and cash advance fees. Well before your date of travel, do some research and get an international credit card that levies the minimum fee on international transactions – purchases and cash withdrawals.
9. Loading Just About Enough on Your Pre-Paid Travel Card
When travelling, it is easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent. A prepaid card can be a good option, but ensure you load it with more than the expenses you budget for. If you happen to run out of charge on the card during your trip, reloading can be a costly affair with the fees involved.
10. Travelling Without an Insurance
Overseas travel insurance can come in handy in a lot of ways, beginning with providing you immense peace of mind. You can embark on your trip with the assurance that your policy will cover you for any loss or damage which you may have suffered or undergone during your trip. Additionally, insurers usually provide policyholders with round the clock assistance by providing a dedicated helpline that will answer your queries relating to your policy.
11. Planning without Budgeting
The last and most important point on this list is trip budgeting. It is very important that you plan the expenses you are likely to incur on your trip, so you can arrange for money accordingly.
Not doing so can lead to stress and frustration if you run out of money mid-way on the trip. Keep a generous estimate for expenses like sightseeing, transport, food, so you have the money to indulge in any last-minute things you want to do on your trip.