An important part of your trip preparations is planning your budget. Take care of these before you
Many trips offer a limited number of optional excursions or field trips. You pay for them before you leave, so they don’t need to be a part of your out-of-pocket budget on the trip. The group leader normally decides for the group whether to participate in optional excursions, and the item is listed on your invoice accordingly. In addition, your Tour Manager may have ideas for extra excursions during your trip. You should budget accordingly.
Spending money depends on personal habits and how long you’ll be abroad, but a good rule of thumb is $450 per week. This covers lunches, snacks, soft drinks, postage, souvenirs, free-time activities, optional excursions and local transportation during free time.
Tour Manager and Driver Tips
It is customary to tip your full-time Tour Manager and long-distance bus driver. If their performance is outstanding a minimum of $ 6 per person per day for the tour manager and $ 3 per person per day for the driver who accompanies the group is recommended. Since spending money tends to run low at the end of the trip, your group leader may collect the tips before you depart to keep them safe and available.
Credit & Debit Cards
You may obtain cash with your credit card or local bankcard at ATM machines. ATMs generally give a wholesale exchange rate, as much as 5 percent better than banks. Most big department stores and restaurants in major cities will take U.S. credit cards, and these cards give you the best exchange rate.
Be sure to memorize your 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) to use your bankcard. Plus, check with your bank or credit card issuer to make sure your card is compatible with international ATMs.
If you don’t already have a PIN number for your credit card, you’ll have to call to get one.
If a logo for PLUS or CIRRUS is on the back of your credit card or bankcard, you can probably use the card for cash at ATMs. These are the major money networks overseas. Call either PLUS (1-800-843-7587) or CIRRUS (1-800-424-7787) for ATM locations around the world.
Buy fairly large-denomination travellers checks (at least $20, preferably $50), since overseas banks charge a high commission for each traveller check you cash, no matter the dollar amount. Keep a list of your traveller’s check numbers, separate from the checks themselves.
While abroad, cash travellers checks at banks or change windows (do some comparison shopping at one or two of them). Typically, hotels and airports offer very expensive exchange rates. Take about $50 of your spending money in U.S. currency ($5 and $10 bills), so you won’t have to cash a big-denomination travellers check if you need a small amount of local currency.
The Euro, the single currency of the European Monetary Union, began circulation on January 1, 2002. The Euro has replaced the national currencies of Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. The old national currencies have been withdrawn. Within the United Kingdom British pounds are used. Local currencies also applies in Scandinavia (except Finland) and in Czech Republic (Prague).
Coins Don't Exchange
Foreign countries generally don’t exchange coins (either U.S. or foreign); only banknotes are convertible. Leftover foreign coins in your pocket are good souvenirs for family and friends.
Changing Back into Dollars
The rate going back to dollars will not be as favourable as going into foreign currency, so try to avoid having large amounts of foreign cash left over.
Your common sense will take you a long way. Never leave money in your hotel room. Check your money, passport and other valuables in a hotel safe when available. Use a money belt or neck pouch for carrying money. Strap purses and cameras diagonally across, not over your shoulder, and preferably under your clothing. It is a good idea to leave expensive cameras, fancy sound equipment and jewellery at home. The maximum benefit payable for lost electronic/photo equipment according to your insurance coverage may not be more than $200-300. In the event that valuables are lost, you must have a police report to be covered by your insurance. "The best advice is: If you can't bear to lose it, don't bring it"