If you’ve got travel plans for your Gap Year the important question is ‘how are you going to fund it?’. Our top tip is to plan, plan and plan some more! The sooner you start to plan, the better. If your Gap Year is still years away, it doesn’t matter, start saving and you will reap the benefits later.
A good starting point is to think about how much you might need – set yourself a goal. This should include the cost of flights, travel insurance, visas, vaccinations, anti-malarial precautions, kit, transport overseas, accommodation, food and any activities/programs you are planning. If you’re on an organised trip it is likely you’ll have some of these things included but make sure you check what is, and what isn’t covered, on the cost of the program.
Firstly, find a decent bank account where you can save money and also access your money from overseas. You will need to have online banking set up too. Most places will take a debit or credit card but watch out for the card fees.
TOP TIP: Inform your bank that you are travelling overseas so they don’t block your card.
You’ll need some cash in the local currency so get some changed up before you leave home but please note, some countries have a closed currency, which means you’ll need to buy it on arrival. A good idea is to always have some US$ in cash on you (but not too much).
You need to keep your money safe once you leave so never carry too much cash on you and always keep your bank card/s safe – it will be tricky to get a replacement when travelling. Make a note of the emergency contact number for your credit card company in case you need to report it lost/stolen.
Keep an eye on your balance and make sure you pay off your credit card each month to avoid any charges. Remember you have a budget – don’t blow it all at once!
TOP TIP: Set some money aside for an emergency fund.
Travel money cards are a good pre-paid option – you won’t over spend either! You can use it just like you would a debit card but always check the exchange rate the card provider will be using – it may or may not work to your advantage.
A specific travel credit card is a better option with no exchange fees, compared to your normal everyday credit card which will have fees applicable for any purchases so always check the small print. Ask your bank if they have a good option for spending overseas.
TOP TIP: Look for an ATM card with no fees and a credit card that offers cashback or rewards.