So you’ve been support raising the cost of your trip, but what about paying for your coffee addiction overseas? That’s where spending money comes into play! All of your needs will be paid for from your trip cost, but if you want to eat out with your team, snuggle an elephant, hike a volcano…you’re going to need some extra dollars!
We suggest bringing $100 – $200 per month depending on how much you would like to spend on souvenirs, gifts, or anything extra you may like to purchase while on the field! This is just a ballpark number we’ve gotten from previous participants; you may want to bring more or less. You know your spending habits best.
What’s the best way to get that money overseas?
One word: VISA!
We highly recommend you carry a VISA debit card attached to a personal checking account as you travel around the world (not a prepaid card). In our experience, this is the most reliable way to get money overseas. Mastercards work… SOMETIMES. American Express works… NEVER. VISA is the most accepted card and will give you the least trouble.
With a debit card, you can withdraw money from an ATM in the local currency, usually at the best exchange rate.
Meet our man, Charles!
Consider opening up a Charles Schwab account. What’s so great about them? No ATM fees, no matter where you are! Using ATMs overseas can cost anywhere between $3-$10 every time you swipe your card. With a Charles Schwab account, they will reimburse all ATM fees at the end of every month! Hello extra coffee money!
Your bank account comes with certain fraud protection systems. As you travel to multiple countries and use your card, banks will suspect your card is stolen. You have to call your bank before you leave and tell them that you are traveling. They will want to know where you are going. Also, be sure to check that your debit card won’t expire while you’re gone. If it does, go ahead and call your bank to get a new card plenty of time before you leave.
Add a person you trust to your account
One of the best things I did was add my mom to my bank account. She could then walk into the bank and do anything that needed to be done for me financially at that bank, no questions asked. It made life very hassle free. Your mom might not be the best person to add to your bank account, but I would recommend you add a trusted person. Someone who can deposit money for you, change information, and generally take care of anything you need. Not to mention when your mom calls and is so sad that she can’t send you a birthday present on the field, I’ll tell her that she should add a little cash to your personal bank account. You can make that a simple process!!
Come up with a plan for emergencies. You may need to visit a doctor or you may forget your debit card in the back of a taxi. Things happen! Make sure you bring cash or a credit card with you, just in case! Also, be sure you understand how your insurance works (check out the link on your profile under the FAQs tab in the preparation section), and think through how you will pay for any medical treatment you might get overseas.
Spend wisely and enjoy those international adventures, friends!