Planning a gap year?


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But feeling a little daunted?

Not sure which way to turn?

Wondering where you'll end up

And what might happen along the way?

Fear not!!

We have loads of tips and advice to share with you

From our own amazing Family Gap Year!

How To Manage Your Finances On A GAP Year

How to manage money on your gap year

By: Bruce Haxton

 

Budgeting and looking after your cash when you’re off on your travels is something of a dark art, but I’ve tried to put together some top advice to make sure you don’t have to make that humiliating call to your mum to get her to wire more funds!

What to take?

When it comes to taking money abroad the motto should always be ‘plastic is fantastic’! Debit cards can be used all over the world and a credit card is handy for larger emergencies like unexpected flights, or even an early return home. Cards can be easily cancelled if lost and balances can usually be checked online. It’s worth investing in CardGuard which means you just have one number to call to cancel all your cards. Some cards (especially credit cards) incur a charge when withdrawing money abroad, so either take a hefty amount out each time or try and sniff out an account which offers free withdrawals overseas.

Another good tip is to have an account with very little money in it, so that you have a card to give to people if you get robbed. They’ll assume you only have one and make off with it, leaving you with the real one in your shoe (or wherever you want to hide it!). As well as taking money on plastic it’s a good idea to have a little emergency fund, just in case you lose your cards or you can’t find an ATM. You can either take travellers cheques which protect against theft, some local currency or a reserve of US dollars, as they are accepted nearly everywhere. Just don’t lose those as well!

How to budget?

Before the fun part of travelling you have to do the boring planning bit. Not bothering to budget properly is a big mistake and you’ll regret it when you’re dancing for pennies in a Brazilian bus station! It doesn’t have to be stressful anyway: check out this handy budget calculator that takes the hassle out of it. Once you know where you’re going (it’s impossible to budget otherwise), the calculator will work out how much you need for food, drink and accommodation in that particular country. If you remember to add on the cost of air tickets, travel insurance and all other fixed costs onto the total, you’ll be left with the amount you can spend on having fun!

When to barter?

Bartering isn’t a big part of Western culture, because most things are sold for a fixed price, so haggling for the first time can feel like a very strange experience. Once you get the hang of it, however, it’s a lot of fun and a great way to save money. Common sense tells you when to barter: restaurants and hotels are obviously not rich pickings because they have a large number of customers, but markets and street sellers need your custom and usually inflate the price to start with anyway. Follow these tips and you’ll be fine:

  • The price you are initially quoted is normally about double what it’s worth, so don’t be scared to offer much less
  • Decide on a price and don’t go above it, whatever you are told!
  • Increase your offer slowly – it means you meet at a lower price in the end!
  • Don’t be scared to walk away and come back, as they’ll probably still be there tomorrow
  • Bartering is part of the culture of many countries, so don’t feel as though you are being rude

Should I give to beggars?

Whatever people tell you about the dubious benefits of giving to beggars it’s hard not to be touched by acute poverty. Most advice to travellers is that there’s a clear connection between begging and substance abuse – in short, it funds the habit. However this is not true in all cases and there will be plenty of people out there with a genuine need for money. One option for people that want to help but can’t decide whether to give directly is to donate the equivalent amount to a charity dealing with the issues of homelessness and poverty such as Homeless International. When it comes to children though the message is clearer: many children are used by adults in order to make money and donating won’t solve the problem. A far better idea is to give the cash to charity or to give young people something they will definitely benefit from such as food, blankets or clothing.

When is it worth spending the cash?

You see a lot of people at the airport in need of a pack horse to get through customs. While there are definitely things worth buying, there’s also a lot worth that’s leaving behind. Firstly, check customs guidelines which detail what you can bring back and steer clear of plants, animals and genuine gold watches you can buy for a fiver! Other than that, it all comes down to personal taste. Remember, it’s going to be on your fireplace for 10 years so make sure you like it. Genuine crafts, products from the region you visited and things which bring back memories tend to be worth every penny.

Useful links

http://www.i-to-i.com/campfire/travel-guides/119-What-to-Pack

http://www.moneysupermarket.com/c/travel-money/money-saving/tips/

About the Author

 

I'm totally passionate about travel, it's been my life and work for a good few years! My travel adventures haven't really been about seeing monuments etc but far more about people and getting off the beaten track. Even in a country that has large numbers of tourists you can still find hidden places if you look hard enough, living and working in country gives you such a different perception of it and more of a chance to absorb the local culture. I would like to share my many experiences and offer a little advice if I can to fellow travellers or anyone who is just about to set off on a life changing trip!

 

(ArticlesBase SC #1073079)

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com

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