You’re ready to venture to a foreign destination – so how do you make sure you’re set up to have the best time possible? Here are 5 tips to help you save money, stress and precious vacation time while you’re away.
Get Your Money Sorted Out – Before You Leave
Planning how you’re going to pay for things in advance doesn’t mean taking out a wad of foreign cash and sticking it in a money belt. Quite the opposite, actually. Preparing the money-side of your foreign trip means having a good balance of options – including some foreign currency, your credit card, and a compatible debit card.
You’ll want to get a bit of foreign cash before you go, so you can pay for transportation from the airport, make any immediate purchases, or cover any tips for helpful staff. But it’s a good idea to only bring a small amount along so you’re not carrying too much and feeling insecure about what you have on you.
By bringing along a credit card, you can cover major costs such as your hotel and more expensive activities. And packing your debit card (just make sure it has a chip and 4-digit PIN) will let you withdraw cash from ATMs while away.And while most countries have a robust ATM system these days, every destination is different. It’s smart to do some research before you go so that you’ve got the right balance of cash and cards lined up.
Get Your Insurance in Order
If you’re taking a big trip, you’ve likely put in hours of research and planning to create an amazing experience. While the idea of having to cancel or cut your trip short because of an unexpected situation is tough to swallow, it would be even harder if you lost deposits, prepayments and airfare as a result. Protect yourself – and the investment you’ve made in your trip – by getting insurance to cover things like trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost bags, medical emergencies and theft. If you’ve booked with your credit card, take a look at what protection is included. Many credit cards offer these insurances when you purchase your trip with their credit card. If you require more coverage, you can top-up as needed.
Get Your Vaccinations
Depending on where you’re going, you might want – or need – to get vaccinated to prevent you from getting sick while travelling. The Government of Canada has a helpful site that lets you know which vaccines you might want to consider for the country you’re visiting. It’s also smart to visit your doctor about six weeks before your trip to get their point of view.
Check in With Your Data Plan
You don’t want to get dinged with a massive cell phone bill at the end of your trip, right? Most mobile plans have reasonable roaming packages with global services – as long as you set up a plan in advance. Before you go, get in touch with your provider to see what option is best for you.
The other way to go is to shut off your data (again, before you step on the plane!) and rely on Wi-Fi while abroad. You might be a little less connected, but will save a few extra dollars in the meantime.
Sometimes, things go wrong while you’re travelling. But no situation is insurmountable, especially if you’ve set up some backup before jetting off. That includes having copies of your passport (take one with you, leave one at home with a friend or family member), having a backup credit card with you in case your main one gets lost or stolen, and turning on your “find my phone” service on your mobile device – again, in case it goes missing somewhere along the way.
Travels abroad should be filled with new experiences, extraordinary moments, great adventures and maybe even some amazing food.Being prepared – and getting some of the logistics out of the way before you go – and make your vacation escape the time of your life.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.