What good is amassing wealth when one doesn’t get to enjoy it? We love the idea of being able to put money away for the future. The problem is that at one point or another we need to remember that we’re not money-hoarding automatons. We’re people, too, and we deserve to enjoy ourselves, enrich our lives and experience life. With these things in mind, travel remains one of the popular ways people enjoy their savings, and it can be a fun and exciting adventure to be had, so long as your bank accounts are still important to consider.
Travel, whether it’s a road trip down across state lines to crash with distant cousins or backpacking along Eastern Europe, has its own set of challenges. One of these key challenges is keeping one’s money situation in good shape.
Here are some points well worth remembering.
The horror stories are warning flags enough. When people visit a foreign country, one is never 100% sure of others. It’s not always nice to feel that from other people, but it’s a natural response that we get and they give sometimes. We hear people speak differently, act differently and even eat differently. It’s great to soak up culture, but it’s another thing if people are trying to lead you on.
Keep basic safety tips in mind, the kind that we were always taught by our parents: Be safe. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t accept candy (or any kind of gifts, for that matter) from just anyone. Read the signs properly. Obey traffic laws (if applicable) and don’t cross the street on a red light. These rules are tougher in some places, such as Singapore, where one can face deportation if not careful.
The last thing one needs is to be taken into custody and written up for a hefty fine, or to be exploited by an unscrupulous swindler. Do not give your information to just anybody. Your name, credit card number or Social Security digits all have value to someone other than yourself, and if exploited you could be in deep trouble. Keep your wallet close to you as well. Bring cash for emergencies, but not too much or you’ll invite unwanted attention. A prepaid credit card can be a safer “virtual wallet” than an actual purse full of bills.
Travel is part journey, part discovering priorities. Do you want gifts to bring home? Do you want to try new experiences like exotic food or bizarre extreme sports? When you figure these out, you’ll know where your money goes.
On any trip, figure out the following basics: Transportation (apart from the trip to and from your destination), food and lodging. From there, allocate everything else to that priority goal you set for your vacation. For example, if you feel like going to Paris, you can blitz all the fancy restaurants, or you could do all the attractions in Euro Disneyland, or shop till you drop. It’ll be dependent on what you set yourself up for.
Want to squeeze more out of your dollar? The Internet has a lot of resources for bargains on nice places. If you’re not picky, opt to hire a rental car for multiple days instead of hailing cabs, or smaller inns over fancier hotels. They can spare you a lot of money to pour into the other fun things.
What good is a vacation if you’re not enjoying? Settle all your work before you leave, and when you get there, leave the troubles behind! Zone out and enjoy your trip, because what good is the money you spent if you didn’t make the most of it by having fun?
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