15 Money Mistakes To Avoid When Travelling Abroad

Traveling to a new country is exciting, but it can also be tricky when it comes to managing your money. One wrong move and you might end up spending way more than you planned, or worse, find yourself in a tight spot far from home. Nobody wants their dream vacation turned into a financial nightmare!

To help you keep your wallet happy while you explore the world, I’ve put together a list of 15 money mistakes to watch out for when you’re traveling abroad.

Not informing your bank

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Before you jet off, tell your bank you’re traveling. If you don’t, they might think someone stole your card and freeze your account. Imagine trying to pay for dinner, and your card gets declined! It’s a quick call or online update that can save you a big headache later.

Exchanging money at the airport

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Airport currency exchanges often have terrible rates. They know you’re in a hurry and might not have other options. Instead, get some cash before you leave home or use an ATM at your destination. You’ll get way more bang for your buck this way.

Not having a backup card

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Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – or all your money on one card. Bring a backup credit or debit card and keep it separate from your main card. If your wallet gets lost or stolen, you’ll still have access to money. It’s like having a safety net for your finances.

Ignoring foreign transaction fees

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Some cards charge extra every time you use them abroad, and these fees can add up fast! Check your card’s policy before you go. If the fees are high, consider getting a card with no foreign transaction fees for your trip.

Always paying in your home currency

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When shops offer to charge you in your home currency, it might seem helpful. But usually, it’s a bad deal. This trick, called dynamic currency conversion, often comes with hidden fees. Pay in the local currency instead – your bank will give you a better exchange rate.

Not budgeting for your trip

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It’s easy to overspend when you’re having fun. Before you go, make a rough plan for how much you want to spend each day. Include food, activities, and some extra for surprises. Having a budget helps you enjoy your trip without worrying about money the whole time.

Carrying too much cash

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While it’s good to have some cash, don’t carry too much. It’s risky – if it’s lost or stolen, it’s gone for good. Use cards for big purchases and just keep enough cash for small stuff like bus fares or street food. It’s safer, and you won’t be a target for pickpockets.

Not checking your phone plan

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Using your phone abroad can cost a fortune if you’re not careful. Check what your plan covers before you go. You might need to buy an international plan or a local SIM card at your destination. Don’t come home to a shocking phone bill!

Forgetting about ATM fees

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Using ATMs abroad often comes with fees – both from your bank and the ATM itself. These can add up if you’re making lots of small withdrawals. Try to take out larger amounts less often to minimize fees. Just be sure to store the cash safely.

Not having travel insurance

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It might seem like an extra expense, but travel insurance can save you tons if something goes wrong. It can cover things like cancelled flights, lost luggage, or medical emergencies. Think of it as a safety net that lets you relax and enjoy your trip.

Tipping too much (or too little)

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Tipping customs vary around the world. In some places, it’s expected; in others, it might even be rude. Do a quick online search about tipping in your destination before you go. It’ll help you avoid awkward moments and unnecessary expenses.

Falling for tourist traps

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Popular tourist areas often have inflated prices. While you shouldn’t miss the main attractions, try to eat and shop where the locals do. It’s usually cheaper and more authentic. Ask your hotel staff or check online for recommendations off the beaten path.

Not factoring in transportation costs

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Getting around can eat up a big chunk of your budget. Research your options before you go. Sometimes a weekly transit pass is cheaper than individual tickets. Or renting a bike might be better than taxis. A little planning can save you a lot of money.

Buying unnecessary souvenirs

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It’s fun to bring home mementos, but don’t go overboard. Those cute knick-knacks often end up gathering dust. Instead, focus on a few meaningful items or photos. Your memories (and your wallet) will thank you.

Not keeping track of your spending

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It’s easy to lose track of what you’re spending when you’re having fun. Try keeping a quick note on your phone of what you spend each day. It helps you stay on budget and avoid nasty surprises when you get home. Plus, it’s interesting to see where your money went!

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Mary Apurong

Mary Apurong is an experienced editor and ghostwriter who enjoys writing and reading. She loves researching topics related to life and creating content on quotes, gardening, food, travel, crafts, and DIY. Mary spends her free time doing digital art and watching documentaries.

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