Managing your money is hard, especially when you’re in a different country and everything seems new and cool. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your money abroad, and how to avoid hidden fees.
1. Bring a variety of cards.
In Spain, I brought my two debit cards and my one credit card. Having a variety of cards was very helpful, as I could use the one with the least amount of fees. If you have yet to buy a credit card, I suggest looking into CapitalOne, since they are notoriously good with traveling abroad. I have their card, and have had practically no fees my whole time here.
2. Be smart with ATMs.
There are some ATMs that have fewer fees than others. I recommend asking locals for their advice (my host family was really helpful with this) and also looking around to see which one works best. From my experience here, Santander bank is typically great with little to no transaction fees.
3. Look on booking sites, but buy plane tickets on the airline site.
Often times, booking sites have the appearance of super cheap prices. However, when you get to the end it will often have very expensive service fees. I fell for this once and will never again. Since then, I look at those sites to find the best options and then go on to the individual sites to purchase them myself. If you’re headed to Spain, this website is amazing at finding the flights with the best prices: http://www.jetcost.es
4. Never eat near a tourist attraction.
This trick is as old as time. Restaurants will triple the price of food and souvenirs the closer they are to a major city attraction. If you want better food for a better price, always walk a little farther away (little cute alleys are always a good bet) or research restaurants ahead of time.
If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to save more than a couple bucks while abroad!