Planning a holiday can be great fun. Sorting through glossy brochures, scrolling through exotic websites and reading reviews, list of places to visit and what to do can be almost as much fun as actually going there. Planning important and I believe the better you plan your trip, the easier and more likely it is that you’ll have a fantastic time once you’re there.
Everyone plans to a certain extent, some a lot more than others. And whilst you might not be in the habit of making a detailed packing list 2 weeks before you leave, one thing we all need to consider when going abroad is how much spending money we’re going to need.
Now, this is not an easy question to answer, as everyone has different spending habits. Plus, the cost of things you are likely to be buying will vary hugely, depending on your chosen destination. Clearly, the amount of spending money a family of 4 will need for 2 weeks the USA will be a lot more than, say, a lone backpacker spending the same time roughing it in Thailand.
But, with the ease of access to information that the Internet has given us, it’s now a lot more straight forward working out what you are likely to spend at your destination. Use online guides and reviews to find out about the basics. Will you need to be using public transport or taxis to get about? Are there deals to be had buying a railcard or a weekly travel pass? Guides like Lonely Planet and Time Out are great for giving you average costs in restaurants and bars. Work out what you can afford, and create a budget. Always factor in a little slush fund for each day, ice creams for the kids, extra sun block and treating yourselves to a cocktail at sunset can all add up and be quite a significant cost.
Once you have a rough idea of how much you’re likely to spend whilst away, it’s time to buy your currency. Lots of decisions to be made here too. Do you buy hard cash or traveller’s cheques? Who will give you the best rate and who charges a commission? Does where you’re going accept your Visa or Amex, or is it best to buy a currency card and withdraw cash locally if needed? All these are options and with the drop in foreign travel this summer, there are some great currency deals available.