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The art of stretching your budget on guided tours

Published February 7th, 2019

Flights? Booked.
Tour? All paid off.
Bag? Packed, and not bulging at the zippers… yet.
Phone charger? Better make sure you don’t forget that bad boy.

As Shania would say, let’s go girls (and boys). It seems you are locked and loaded, ready for an overseas adventure.

Hold up though, your list is missing one pretty crucial factor - travel money. For your sake, I hope you’re not reading this article on the way to the airport where you are planning on purchasing your foreign currency (news flash, airport rates are TERRIBLE).

Despite having everything (or almost everything) else paid in advance, you are still going to need some foreign cash to splash whilst overseas. We’ve teamed up with the experts at Travel Money Oz to give you some tips on how to maximise your money and make your budget stretch further overseas.

First things first - budgeting

Egh, the b word. It might send shivers down your spine, but it’s also totally necessary to avoid running out of money on your tour and having to scab cash for lunch off your newfound friends.

You’ll need to budget for meals, tipping (especially in the States and Canada), activities not included in the tour cost, additional sightseeing, shopping, souvenirs and drinks (work hard, play hard - right?).

Your tour’s website will tell you what meals are included (generally it’s most breakfasts and a few lunches and dinners), as well as how much extra activities will cost. These activities can add up pretty quickly if you’re not careful, so make sure you’re across what you want to do and how much it will cost.

With your budget done, it’s time to start saving. It’s well worth skipping a night out if it means you can afford a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, or skiing in Big White.

Next up - exchanging your cash

Travel Money Oz has a bunch of nifty lil tricks to get your more bang for your buck. Once you’ve booked your trip, figure out what currency (or currencies) you’re gonna need and sign up for rate alerts . They’ll do the hard work for you, and send an email when the rate hits your preferred amount.

Better yet, when you purchase in store they offer Rate Guard. So, if the rate improves within 14 days of purchase, they will refund you the difference*. Holla.

You’ll also need to divide your travel budget between cash and card - cash for purchases like meals and tipping, and card for bigger things like your optional extras and sightseeing. Plus, it’s probs not super wise to carry around a huge wad of your travel money. We recommend a Travel Money Oz Currency Pass , as you can lock in your exchange rate for up to 10 currencies^ and monitor your spending on the app.

Last but not least - making your money go further on holiday.

You’ve made it, you’re here. The holiday vibes are strong and you’re hashtagging every image #liveyourbestlife

It’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting your budget and spending willy nilly once you start to relax. Don’t do this.

Follow a few of these tips so you can stick to your budget and not become the resident povo on the trip.

Refill your water bottle. Travelling is thirsty work, and it will save you a few dollars each day not having to buy a new one (plus you’re saving the turtles).
Eat like a local. Tourist hot spots are known for crazy prices and ripping off travellers. Ask your tour guide where to find delicious, cheap eats.
Pack your lunch. If you’re in a destination for a few nights, go to the supermarket and stock up on sandwich ingredients.
Buy a local sim and turn off data roaming. Better yet, take advantage of free wifi so you can avoid a ‘UGE phone bill when you get home.
Walk. It’s free, allows you to see more sights and also burns off those holiday calories #fitspo.
Avoid excessive ATM fees. Avoid doing heaps of tiny ATM withdrawals; instead, do a few bigger withdrawals and save on the fees.
Find a buddy. Things are generally cheaper when split between two or more people. Plus friends are always nice (especially if they know how to work the photo angles for you).
Only take cash on a night out. Once you run out of cash, you don’t have to worry about your carefree self, going slightly overboard and shouting the whole tour group a round of shots on your credit card. (Top tip - if you’re buying rounds, always try and buy the first round as people will be more generous after a few when they are buying you a drink…)
Rethink the souvenirs. Is it really necessary to buy three I <3 NY t-shirts? Do your friends actually need three bags of Reese's pieces (probably yes, and you would be very popular. Let’s be real, everyone loves Reese's except your travel savings).

Want to know the best money saving tip of all? Buy stuff on sale. Right now, tours and flights to the USA and Canada are on sale – check out our deals here, and the first 100 customers that spend $5k on a USA booking will get a bonus Travel Money Oz Currency Pass loaded with $50AUD worth for foreign currency*.

What are you waiting for? Run, don’t walk to your closest Student Flights and book in your vacay now!

This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you.  We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.
*Terms and conditions apply to Rate Guard. See https://www.travelmoneyoz.com/rate-guard for more information.
^Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 145 452 044, AFSL 386837) arranges for the issue of the Travel Money Oz Currency Pass in conjunction with the issuer, Heritage Bank Limited (ABN 32 087 652 024, AFSL 240 984). You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement for the relevant product available at www.travelmoneyoz.com before deciding to acquire the product. Any advice does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives and you should consider if it is appropriate for you. Mastercard is a registered trademark and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. +Exchange rates for initial loads and subsequent reloads made using methods available at www.travelmoneyoz.com will be set at the prevailing exchange rate set out at the time of your request. Different exchange rates apply for loads initiated using other methods. If you initiate a load or reload other than via www.travelmoneyoz.com, the exchange rate applied will be the prevailing exchange rate at the time the payment is processed and the funds are received into your facility.

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Abbie Taylor

Abbie has 4 loves: travel, soft cheese, corgis and spending 'slightly' too much money on food. When she's not conforming to classic female millennial stereotypes, she enjoys finding and writing about places that ignite her love this lil old planet we call home. @abbieisabelle13