Ahead of departing for your festive season break this year, don’t forget that planning your budget is just as important as planning what you will be packing. MasterCard shares a few tips on how to stretch your budget, and how to pay safely for items wherever you may be traveling in the world – whether locally or if you are jet setting to an international destination.
1. Skip hotels and stay in an apartment
The high cost of staying in even a modest American or European hotel during peak holiday season can quickly deplete your holiday budget. As a cheaper alternative – especially when you’re staying in a city for more than a week – look at renting a furnished apartment. As a bonus, it will come with a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals rather than needing to eat out all the time. Renting a room from an Airbnb host is another idea – not only allowing you to save money, but also giving you a taste of local hospitality.
2. Shop for food like a local
Rather than spending extravagantly on expensive meals out, try to cook for yourself as much as possible. Eating in is far cheaper in most European countries than going to a restaurant. Exploring markets and specialist delis for fresh produce is a fun and affordable way to enjoy the local cuisine.
If you decide to eat out, avoid the tourist traps near popular sights – the venues just a few streets up will inevitably offer better food and lower prices. Also, look out for bargains. In many European cities, for example, restaurants offer set lunchtime menus that are better value than their dinner menus.
3. Invest in a prepaid currency card
A prepaid currency card like Mastercard’s Multi-Currency Cash Passport helps make managing your budget much easier before and during your trip. The Multi-Currency Cash Passport is a reloadable prepaid card, separate from your everyday banking and allows you to store up to four different currencies on one card (USD, EUR, GBP and AUD). With fixed ATM fees and no transaction fees on purchases, it’s easier to manage your overseas spending and gives you easy access to your cash abroad, from ATMs and retail outlets.
It’s far safer than carrying cash and it’s cheaper than getting travellers’ cheques or forex before you leave. It also makes it simple for you to keep track of spending, which can be done via the online portal. While currencies fluctuate, you are able to lock in exchange rates so that you know exactly how much to budget for ahead of your trip.
4. Be app-savvy
Your smartphone can be a great travelling companion, thanks to the many travel guide, map, phrasebook, and comparative shopping apps on the market. Also, using your mobile phone to check restaurant reviews or compare prices can help you to spend your budget wisely.
Check out the Mastercard For You app to learn how your Mastercard can make your trip more enjoyable. It’s available to iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows users. Depending on which Mastercard you have, the app enables you to quickly discover and redeem offers in the city you are visiting simply by using your smartphone.
5. Buy a travel pass
Many large cities offer transport passes for buses and metros that can save you money, and these can often be pre booked online. Some offer you unlimited travel for a day or a week, while others simply offer you a number of rides at a discounted price.If you plan to get around a lot, these passes will usually be far cheaper than paying for separate tickets for each journey or catching a taxi. Also don’t forget, Uber is a safe way to travel and you can preload your Mastercard payment cards to ensure a safe and cashless experience.
6. Enjoy a Priceless experience
Many exclusive rewards and loyalty progammes give you access to preferential travel experiences. Offerings like World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard aren’t about discounts and special offers—they’re about curating experiences that match your interests and lifestyle. You receive 24/7 access to a lifestyle and travel concierge service to plan unforgettable experiences such as reserving a chef’s table at a sought-after restaurant. Additionally, travellers are encouraged to visit the Mastercard Priceless experiences websites to investigate if there is a fun and unique experience available at the destination you are visiting.