7 Travel Tips to make your budget work for you while you’re on the road
If you’ve ever spoken to our Co-founder Sarah Riegelhuth (or follow her on Instagram!) you know that she lives and breathes travel.
Our fave nomad shares some of her recent travel experiences and how to actually afford to live the traveller life.
“One hot tip for young players (and probably something that should’ve been really obvious to me by now): last Friday night I was in New York, I’d had a bunch of meetings and I went out to grab dinner. I was waiting for the restaurant to open, sitting on the bench outside and then I think I got on a phone call and I got distracted. There were my other bags and my laptop and stuff, and when the restaurant opened I went in, sat down, had my dinner, had my glass of wine and then had to go for a meeting.
I asked them for the bill and… couldn’t find my wallet anywhere.
I thought maybe I left it on the bench, then I was thinking maybe it was in the co-working space across the road. So I was in this moment in the restaurant where I was super stressed out because I was trying to tell them that I can’t pay them but that I have to go to a meeting, and I also wanted to try to look for my wallet!
It was really embarrassing and really a disaster. Anyway, I went back to the co-working space couldn’t find anywhere. But the point of the story is: I had every card that I owned, all my business banking cards, all my own personal cards everything, all in that wallet. Thank the freaking universe I didn’t have my passport in there!I stupidly had all my cards in the same wallet and then I lost it. I cancelled them all, it was fine but I was literally in the US with no money at all.”
So, 7 travel tips to make your budget work for you while you’re on the road:
Travel Tip #1: Split your shit
“Two cards is good because it’s always annoying if something doesn’t work which can happen quite often when you’re overseas if you haven’t notified your bank that you’re travelling, which is another great tip.”
Travel Tip #2: Notify your bank
“I honestly never do it because I travel so much I feel like I would spend half of my week on the phone trying to give my travel plans to all my bank!
But if you’re someone who goes on just one or two trips a year it probably doesn’t hurt to give your bank a call and say ‘I’m gonna be in Italy for these dates’. It means your card won’t get frozen when you’re over there – because that has happened to me as well!
And then trying to get onto the bank in different time zones and get everything back up and running can be really painful.
Having a little bit of cash as well just for emergencies is not a bad idea.”
Travel Tip #3: Have a cash stash
“It’s funny because a lot of people are really anti-cash at home but quite like having cash when they travel.
It can also help you stick on a budget as well. If you have X amount for the trip, that is one strategy: just take that amount out or take it out two or three times over the trip and stick to that.”
Travel Tip #4: Isolate your travel savings
“I’m pretty sure every single member of ours has some sort of travel budget or travel goal.
The way that we work things with all of our members is to actually isolate their money. We put it separate from their spending money, separate from their saving for their house or their wedding or their investments, and we label it travel or adventures.”
Travel Tip #5: Change your language
Our legendary Financial Coach and cohost of WEtv, Rebecca Pritchard, came into WE from first being a member. She knows the WE process, and part of that included changing how she thinks and speaks about travel:
“It’s not an expense, it’s achieving a goal. I’ve used that money, I haven’t spent it. I’ve used that money to achieve that goal. It was set there for it.”
Travel Tip #6: Automate your savings
For our travel-driven members, we automate the saving around the goal instead of the typical approach of desperately trying to save when an opportunity arrives. We’ve all been there before, including Sarah:
“When I was younger and I’d plan a trip, usually what I’d do is say, Okay, I want to go there in six months and then I would try to put away money every single month.
Sometimes things didn’t go as well as planned and I’d end up trying to stockpile my last couple of pay-cheques to be able to afford to be away. Then while I was away I’d be waiting for my pay to come through so that I had money while I was there. It was always stressful and I’d usually come back not in the best financial position.
What I really like now is, I put that money away every single month into my travel fund. Then that’s just what I spend to book flights or whatever. I love that when I’m away as well I’m not spending my personal spending. When I get back my usual weekly money that I’m getting paid hasn’t been spent, it’s been accumulating. It’s the opposite of coming back with debt or being a bit behind and needing to catch up.”
Travel Tip #7: Cut the credit card
A lot of the time when we take off to travel, we’ve been financially carbo-loading on the tinned tuna and weetbix to make sure we have enough money to actually travel with. Then when we get there… it’s easy to binge. After all, we’re only in Spain once!
We quickly run out of money after living on rations before the trip and pull the card out. We tap-tap-tap away, blissfully and willfully ignorant of our financial situation.
As for a credit card for emergencies?
“If you’ve got your emergency money in a bank account and you’ve got travel insurance then you should feel pretty confident travelling without a credit card. A credit card’s only ever going to have a $5,000 limit anyway. It’s not going to save you if serious shit hits the fan. If you get in that position, dip into your savings but don’t put it on credit.”
Well, there you have it. That’s how we have been travelling over the last few years. Let us know where you’re off to next and how you’re planning to do it!
Want to chat money, goals and travel with one of the WE Financial Coaches?
Disclaimer: Information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not be rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.