Now that we have completed the first year of our travel adventure, Lori and I have been reflecting on some of the tips we have learned along the way. Deciding that these tips fall into a number of categories, sharing them with our followers might prove useful. Presented here is the first grouping, which focuses on "Money Issues";
*- Before starting your trip, seriously consider setting up direct deposits for incoming monies. That way, you will not have to deal with mail and deposit slips;
*- In the same vein, set up automatic pay features for all recurring monthly bills (e.g. Telephone and/or credit cards). This eliminates APR fees;
*- Check with your bank for a list of overseas partner banks, in order to reduce or eliminate cash advance fees;
*- Many banks offer "Travel Rewards" credit cards, in addition to regular credit cards. Travel Rewards cards usually earn you points, when used for purchases, that you can then trade in for services and/or currency rewards;
*- Keeping financial notebook ledgers helps with tracking income and outgo;
*- Keep small amounts of local currency (in your pocket) available for quick access. Credit cards are not accepted everywhere (especially in smaller shops/restaurants). Secure bulk of money in a separate safe place on your person;
*- Always check with vendors, prior to making a purchase, to see if credit cards are accepted, as opposed to cash;
*- Exchange money for local currency "In Country" at partner banks or "No Fee Exchange Services" rather than at home or at the airport. This way, you will get a better exchange;
*- In country, try to get money out of ATM's located within banks (rather than free standing ATM's) during regular banking hours. If the machine malfunctions, someone will be there to help resolve the issue (especially if the ATM "eats" your card);
*- Also, when getting money from a bank ATM, use a debit or ATM card, rather than a credit card, for lower fee rates;
*- We generally rented furnished apartments in each country visited. It is advisable to use well established rental agencies, such as VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) or Home Away, that provide apartment pictures and previous renter reviews;
*- Never pay the full rental price UNTIL the apartment is actually seen. Paying a deposit fee should be sufficient. Most rentals accept payment by means of "PayPal", which is a more secure process;
*- Check the Internet regarding tipping customs. Tipping in some countries is considered insulting. In addition, people in some other countries tip at a lower percentage rate than is customary in the U.S.;
*- Don't get scammed! Hire a taxi with a meter. No meter - get out!! There are plenty of officially licensed cabs.
We will be adding additional travel tips in other postings.