Whether you feel safety in numbers, you love meeting new people, or you simply prefer leaving the organising up to someone else, there are many benefits to booking a guided tour.
From 2-day guided city breaks to 21-day multi-country tours, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for all aspects of your trip – including your funds.
Learn how to handle your travel money on a guided tour with these 10 tips.
Tip #1: Research Your Currencies
First things first: find out currencies you’ll need. You don't want to head to Norway with a wallet full of Euros, only to find you actually need the Norwegian Krone!
The next thing you should do is make sure you're aware of what’s included (and probably more importantly, excluded) in your tour price. For example, are gratuities and trip kitties included, or will you have to budget for these separately? Once you know the inclusions of your tour, you can look at setting a realistic budget.
If this is your first tour, ask your travel expert what they recommend as a daily allowance, and if you have toured before, think of what you spent on your last trip and adjust as necessary.
Tip #2: Don’t Assume Foreign Cash Will Be Available Everywhere
Don’t rely on ATMs and EFTPOS facilities being readily available everywhere you travel. You should have a minimum of AU$100 converted into the currency of your first destination (in small notes). This way, if you can't find an ATM straight away, or can't use your debit or credit card to pay for things, you’ll still have some cash on you to make a phone call, catch a cab, or even get that well-needed caffeine fix when you arrive at your destination.
Tip #3: Have Backup Options
Again, you may not always have access to an ATM or EFTPOS facilities, so don’t get caught without some emergency cash. The last thing you want is to spot the perfect souvenir for loved ones back home, only to have to leave it behind because you didn’t plan ahead.
Tip #4: Consider Your Travel Money Options
Still taking travellers cheques with you on holiday?
These days, there are so many alternative (and better) options than travellers cheques, especially as not many places accept them anymore. It’s worth looking into the different options available to you and what might work best in the destinations you’re going to.
The most common way to carry money during travel is with a pre-loaded currency card, like a Travel Money Oz Currency Pass. This allows you to lock in an exchange rate* when it’s good, while helping you save on bank fees each time you use the card or take out cash from an ATM.
Tip #5: Avoid Embarrassment by Keeping Cash on You
You're on a tour where gratuities aren't included, and after your Greek Island Hopping experience, you leave your local boat and notice everyone else is dropping a few coins and notes into a bucket as they leave, thanking their driver and host for an awesome time. But you have no cash on you to leave a tip. Oops.
You should always keep some cash on you for incidentals like tips. It should be kept in a variety of denominations, including small bills, so you’re covered for all eventualities.
Tip #6: Know the Lingo
Guided tours often function on a language of their own, and it helps to know what the lingo means – especially if it has to do with your travel funds.
For example, some tours require a "Trip Kitty", where you put in money for meals, small incidentals etc., as well as the initial cost of your trip. It’ll help you set a budget if you a) know what this is, b) know if you need it, and c) know how much you should be contributing.
FYI: A kitty makes it easier to split costs, but we advise storing it in the hotel safe while you’re out and about. Just don’t forget to take it with you when you check out!
Tip #7: Protect Your Money
You can be as prepared as you like, but unforeseen things can (and do) happen, and it’s always a good idea to have travel insurance just in case.
While travel insurance is a good idea in general, you should check if your travel insurance policy covers your travel money. It takes only one tired slip of concentration to leave your bag in a taxi with your carefully stored cash in it, or you get caught up staring at the Eiffel Tower and don't notice your wallet being picked out of your pocket. So what do you do without travel money?
Cover-More’s comprehensive cover gives you coverage for your luggage and personal belongings should something happen to them. Travel Money Oz's FXperts can help you with a Cover-More travel insurance policy if you don't have cover yet! These things happen, and they are the reason why travel insurance exists.
Tip #8: Be Confident Handling Your Money
No one wants to be fumbling around in their bag trying to find coins to settle a mini bar bill while the rest of the group is yelling to hurry up.
Your trip is supposed to be fun and worry-free, so help keep it that way by preparing yourself each morning and sorting your coins and small notes into order before you head off to explore. Being confident with the currency you are handling, and knowing how much cash you have on you at all times, will help you stay on track with your budget and make you less of a target for pickpockets and scammers.
Tip #9: Involve the Whole Family
If you’re travelling with your kids, you can let your little ones have some responsibility when it comes to money. If they have an allowance, let them use it by either splitting it per day or giving them the whole amount to spend and see how they learn to budget.
It’ll give them the experience of learning new currencies, the chance to buy themselves a memento, and maybe even help them discover a new language while they’re at it!
Tip #10: What To Do With Leftover Foreign Cash
Have a small amount of cash left over from your trip? Why not start dreaming of your next holiday by making a jar to store your leftover funds in? Or you can give it to a coin donation programme like Travel Money Oz’s Small Change Big Difference programme, and help some children in need.
If you find yourself with a large chunk of currency left over on a currency card, keep in mind they’re valid for 5 years, so you can use the leftover money on your next trip. If you know you’re not going back to that destination or another country using that currency, you can cash out your card for a small fee.
If you’re unsure of what currency you might need, or what your options are for taking foreign currency on your holiday, a quick visit to your nearest Travel Money Oz store will have you sorted out in no time!
*Key to the World Currency Card: Lock in your exchange rates mean the exchange rate is locked in for the initial load only. The exchange rates for subsequent reloads will be set at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the transaction. Some ATM operators may charge an additional withdrawal fee.
CoverMore Travel Insurance: Limits, exclusions and conditions apply. Insurance issued by Great Lakes Australia (ARBN 127 740 532, AFSL No. 318603). Any advice is general advice only. Please consider your financial situation, needs and objectives and read the Combined PDS/FSG available from us before deciding to buy this insurance.
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.