Planning a vacation is always exciting, until you realize you have to come up with the money to pay for everything.
Avoid the most stressful part of vacation planning by making extra cash before your trip, and being smart with your money while you travel.
Here are nine ways to save for your trip and spend less when you get there.
Ways to Make and Save Money for Your Trip
Whether you’re looking to save extra spending money or need to buy an expensive flight, there are tons of ways to earn money on the side for your upcoming trip.
1. Get Paid to Drive Around
Pick up a side gig, like driving for Uber, and save all the money you make for your trip. As long as you meet Uber’s requirements, you’ll be able to make money driving passengers around town.
If you don’t like the thought of having other people in your car all the time, sign up to be a driver for UberEATS and deliver food instead. With UberEATS you don’t even need to own a car — you can deliver food via motorbike, scooter or bicycle.
2. Take Surveys Online
With survey sites, it’s best to join a few at the same time. When there’s an open survey for your demographic, you’ll get an email that prompts you to take the survey. Depending on the site, you’ll either earn money or points that can be exchanged for money or gift vouchers.
3. Start Freelancing
Find a quick job online through sites such as Fiverr and Speedlancer. These online platforms connect all kinds of freelancers with people who need work done fast. Fiverr’s gigs will likely pay a little less, depending on the type of work.
If quick jobs don’t interest you, look for steady freelance clients through sites like Upwork. Whether you’re looking for one fast, well-paid job or want to build a reliable client base, these sites offer work in areas from writing to engineering.
4. Automate Your Savings with Qapital
After padding your bank account, use technology to help stretch your savings. Qapital is a goal-oriented savings app that makes it easy to save money. I’ve personally used Qapital as my go-to savings method for vacations and small savings goals, and I absolutely love it.
Download Qapital on your iPhone or Android, then connect your bank account. Once you’re signed up, create goals and set your savings rules. The app’s main feature is the roundup rule. Say you spend $2.50 on coffee — Qapital rounds this up to $3.00 and deposits 50 cents into your savings account. You could also set up rules for Qapital to save a certain amount every time you shop at a specific store, or save a percentage of every paycheck.
I’ve managed to save a little over $700 in the last six months just using Qapital.
Save Money While You Travel
Now you’ve saved up the amount of money you needed to go on the trip, but what about saving money during your travels?
Here are a few ways to stay smart with your money when traveling overseas.
1. Open a Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fees
You should always carry some cash while traveling, but having a credit card with no foreign transaction fees is also important. These cards have no foreign currency conversion or foreign ATM fees, meaning you can swipe your card or take out cash without additional charges regardless of where you are in the world.
2. Cook Your Own Food
Instead of dining out all the time, try to eat as many home-cooked meals as you can. Stay in an Airbnb or hostel with a kitchen so you can make meals to last a few days, instead of settling for whatever you can “cook” in your hotel’s microwave.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge in local cuisine — that’s definitely an important part of travelling. Just don’t do it for every meal!
3. Find Cheap Transportation
Sometimes walking just isn’t feasible. If you need to travel a short distance, figure out the cheapest means of transportation for foreigners.
4. Take Advantage of Free Entertainment
It will take some research on your part, but there’s almost always something to do for free.
If your heart is set on a museum, see if there are any free museum days. For example, I have a trip to Rome coming up and the Vatican offers free entry on the last Sunday of every month. It might be extra crowded that day, but it will save me the $40 entrance fee.
Maybe there’s a free local park or market you can explore on your own time, or landmarks that showcase the beautiful architecture of the city you’re in. Instead of taking expensive tours every single day of your trip, plan a few free days and explore your surroundings.
5. Keep Your Belongings Safe
Pickpocketing is common in many parts of Europe, with a few of the most dangerous cities being Barcelona, Paris and Rome. Nothing’s a bigger money drain than having your cash or phone stolen right out of your own pocket.
To protect yourself from petty theft, purchase an anti-theft backpack or a money belt. This will deter pickpockets — anti-theft bags have slash proof technology and zippers that lock in place. A money belt is something you wear underneath your clothes where you can keep cash, passport and even your cell phone.
Also, don’t carry too much cash in your backpack or purse — only carry what you’ll need for the day. This way, if your bag does end up getting stolen, you won’t be out too much money. Keep the rest of your cash and at least one credit card locked up in your hotel room or in a money belt.
Hopefully these tips will keep both you and your wallet happy during any trip. Safe travels!