We recently launched a travel money section on Mozo to help Aussie travellers get more spending power when overseas. We tracked down writer and self confessed ‘Money Geek’ Kerry Lotzof in Paris, where she is currently living and working, and asked her to share some of her top tips for managing the budget when living abroad – here’s what she had to say:
Handling money overseas – Guest Blog, Kerry Lotzof
Dream of hiking through South America, making it big in New York or busking your way through Europe on a ukulele? These tips will ensure your savings last the distance, so you can focus on having the time of your life.
Master your ‘tourist impulse’
A little wave of foreign-city anxiety is perfectly normal but how you manage it can mean the difference between being an impulsive (quickly impoverished) tourist and a savvy (cashed up) traveller.
5 practises of savvy travellers
- Take a deep breath
- Pack a muesli bar
- Master the metro
- Use supermarkets
- Avoid tourist menus
Taking money overseas has come a long way since travellers cheques were in vogue (thank goodness.) Their more robust descendants, prepaid travel cards, are a safe and convenient option for travellers but be warned, not all cards are made equal. Before you sign up, double check the card you apply for has the following features:
- Competitive exchange rate
- Cheap top-ups
- Low purchase and ATM withdrawal fees
- Visa or MasterCard credit facility
Also, make sure you compare any specialty travel products with your existing bank cards or frequent flyer reward cards – sometimes the answer is already in your wallet.
Use ATMs wisely
Visiting the ATM less frequently, withdrawing larger amounts at a time and wherever possible using your credit card facility to make purchases will save you a bundle in expensive international ATM fees.
Budget for mad moments
A few hundred dollars a month dedicated to ‘splurging’ will mean you won’t have to deny yourself any of those crazy indulgent experiences. Eating stale bread and backpacker-bequeathed nutella for several days to make up for the cost of a private box at L’Opera may be worth it, but (believe me) it isn’t fun.
Don’t be shy
Some of the best experiences come from sharing meals with locals and being open to visiting (and hosting) fellow travellers. Of course, free accommodation and home cooked meals will save you a bit of money but it’s the life long friendships that make the experience truly priceless.