We’ve all been in that place traveling abroad where we have spent more money than we’ve wanted to. I recently took a look at my bank account, and it was not a pretty sight. I’m digging into some savings for the month of February, but I’ve been thinking about some ways members of Generation-Y can save when they are living or traveling abroad—and maybe a tip or two when you need a bailout.
Set a budget—and stick to it.
This is something I’ve always been bad about, but it’s majorly important when you don’t want to find yourself high and dry in a foreign country. If you know you can only spend a certain amount on food, accommodations, and transportation, you’re less likely to find yourself going over your limit. Write down how much you can spend and know that number.
Have some way to contact home.
Though the idea of being free from the restraints of talking to people from back home might seem romantic, you’re going to wish you had the option to when you find yourself yen-less in Japan or empty-pocketed in Istanbul. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a way to contact someone who can help you for other reasons like a medical emergency or if your credit cards are stolen. Apps like Viber or Skype allow you to make free phone calls whenever you have wifi, and they’re free to download.
Try not to use credit cards if you can.
Credit cards can be a traveler’s best friend, but they can also be our worst enemy—especially if there is no way to pay your bills while you are abroad. Before you head out to your location of choice, make sure to set up an online account so you can pay your bills on your phone or computer. Also, think twice before you swipe that card. If you can afford to pay for it without using the card, it’s typically better to. Many Generation-Y travel bloggers are now advocating putting all of your expenses on your card and paying it off later, but I disagree. Not to kill the “YOLO” vibe, but you are going to resent the fact you went traveling if you can’t pay off your bills.
Have a financial advocate.
I am amazingly lucky that my father works in finance, so when I am unsure about how to handle my money issues, I can give him a call (on Viber). Even if it’s a close friend who can balance their checkbook like a pro or your grandmother, having someone who can help you through any issues you might be experiencing abroad can help you tremendously.
Have you ever experienced money troubles abroad? Had a little too much fun? Did you regret it?
Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012.