As first time overseas travellers, we found our most difficult decision after all the arrangements were made for our trip with our travel agent was to decide how much spending money we needed on the trip. This article explains how we went about deciding how much currency we would purchase.

Being on a guided tour for our first overseas trip meant most of our expenses were covered. We needed only to budget for meals during our free time, souvenirs, presents and any other activities we might be advised to try. We also felt we needed access to emergency money.

We found there are web sites that provide information about the costs of items most people need on a daily basis including food, meal costs, coffee and so on. But before you get to use them, you need to work out what meals you need, what refreshments you might need, what you want to buy as souvenirs or presents and what other expenses you might incur.

Because you are on a guided tour to cut down on food expenses make the tour meals your main meals. (Some tourists have often taken items from these meals, put them in a doggy bag and use them as their meals away from the tour or during the tour in outback areas where there is likely to be few places to eat. Their justification for this is that any leftovers will be thrown out and they are preventing wastage).

So, using your itinerary, work out what meals you need to pay for. Decide on what sort of meals you would purchase. Now go to the web sites detailing costs in each city you will visit. Often they can be assessed in local currency. So you will need to convert those costs to your own currency. Again, there are web sites that show the current exchange rates. In some countries, you might have to include taxes and/or gratuities. Add 10% to your total as a contingency.

Now you might look at other items you might purchase and special tours of activities you might indulge in. Check their costs and add them to your budget.

Look carefully at the currencies you will use to decide the denominations of the currencies you might use. In countries where tipping is expected, (for example, the U. S. A.), you might obtain lots of small denominations to facilitate that. You will also be surprised at the “numerical value” of some currencies.

If your tour includes different countries with different currencies, you need to separate your costs.

Remember to include travel insurance in your cost as well as some emergency funds. These emergency funds could be included on a credit type card like a Cash Passport.

The only other issues that might arise is what do you do with currency that you have left at the end of the tour before your journey home. If you have budgeted well, there will be little left over. This you can put into charity boxes many airports have. If you have a substantial amount left over, then, I suggest in your budget planning you have a list of items you might buy duty free at the airport on that last day.

Finally, any money you have left on Cash Passport and the like can remain there to be converted to the next currency for your next overseas trip.

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