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I know I could be biased here, but travelling is one of the best ways you can spend your money. Perhaps even the very best. At least, I can’t think of anything better to spend it on.
Not only does travel make make you happier and healthier, but the value you get out of it is nearly always worth at least quadruple the price you pay for it. Travel is educational and broadens the mind, yet humbling in a way that makes you see your own little world through more grateful eyes. It teaches you more lessons than a classroom ever could and creates more friendships than you ever thought possible. So, a very worth investment, I’d say – and with a very quick return.
That said, travel still doesn’t (always) come cheap. And even when it does, who doesn’t want to save a little here and there when they can?
If you want to save that precious money you put in the travel pot and make it go as far as possible – so you can, er, go as far as possible too – you’re in the right place. While there’s no get rich quick scheme, here are three ways I’ve saved more money for travel with cards and bank accounts that are made for travellers.
Quick disclaimer: This post isn’t in any way sponsored; these are the little tricks I use to make my money go a little further while travelling and find myself recommending all the time. Enjoy!
So… let’s talk money.
How to afford more travel
Get yourself a Monzo card
The best thing I discovered this year and my number one recommendation for fellow travellers is the Monzo card. This Mastercard for travellers works just like a prepaid debit card and current account, but without the nasty fees. You simply add money to it via bank transfer or with another card, and then you can use it to make purchases abroad or withdraw money from any ATM.
You might be wondering why would you use this card over the cards you already have, and the answer is main selling point: Monzo doesn’t charge commission OR rip you off with the exchange rates. In fact, it’s so far offered the best exchange rate in every countries I’ve taken it to, beating local exchanges and saving me money on exchanging currency and withdrawing money abroad. You’ll now be charged a small fee if you with withdraw over £200 in one calendar month with Monzo, but I find paying by card wherever I can means I never need that cash anyway – especially when contactless is so quick and easy.
The Monzo app tells you instantly how much you spent (in both the local currency and GBP) and the prepaid aspect means you can’t accidentally overspend – you can even use it at home to help you budget. The funky orange colour will jump right out and remind you of your upcoming adventure every time you open your wallet, too. The only catch is that it’s only available to UK residents and there’s a waitlist to get your own – so sign up now to get yours in time for your next trip.
Choose a credit card with travel benefits
Another great card for UK residents (sorry, non-UK residents!) is the British Airways American Express card. The card works just like a regular Amex credit card, but you earn Avios (AKA the British Airways equivalent to airmiles) every time you use it. British Airways is part of the One World alliance, too, so every pound spent takes you a step closer to status on some of the world’s best airlines.
I tend to put all my online spending on my American Express card and it’s great to see the Avios points racking up. I saved £20 on my last British Airways flight thanks to those points, knocking it down from £151 to £131 – all for spending money I would have spent anyway.
The card is completely free of annual fees, and when you sign up for the British Airways American Express card, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the British Airways Executive Club (also for free!). If you want to save on travel and use a credit card regularly – or are happy to – this has got to be the best way of adding some extra air miles to use for free upgrades or discounted flights to your name.
Other Current And Savings Accounts
Even though I’m hardly in the UK, I have a couple of bank accounts I leave open purely because of the benefits. It’s nowhere near as easy as it used to be to earn money from interest on bank accounts, but there are still some accounts with little perks.
My two personal favourites are Halifax’s Reward Current Account, which pays you £3 per month as long as you pay in £700 and pay out two direct debits every month, and TSB’s Monthly Saver. Between the Monthly Saver and TSB’s Current Account, you can make around £160 per year on interest payments – the best I’ve found on any UK High Street bank. Both accounts are free to open and hold, so you have nothing to lose.
These are just three of the accounts and cards I use to make my travel money go further, but there are loads of other great ways to save money while travelling or save up for a big trip. I’ll be sharing some of my day-to-day tips for saving and spending wisely on here soon, and I’ll also be publishing a video on how I make money as a digital nomad over on my YouTube channel – I hope I’ll see you there!