Tip #4 More Water, Less Waste

Foldable Water Bottle

Hey readers,

      This tip is very simple. We all drink water when traveling (or we should be) amidst all of the wine, beer and liquor we consume. Not to mention the hot days we walk or bike the city center or go to the beaches. For 6 years now, I have been packing a foldable water bottle in my carry-on, where ever I travel to. Once I arrive at the Airbnb, hostel or guest house, I buy a large 5L jug of water to leave in my room. I then fill up my foldable water bottle to take with me into the city or beach. No more buying small bottled water at markets.

       Not only are you saving money, you are helping to save waste. If you are traveling with a friend, they can also fill up, saving twice the waste of empty plastic bottles. Once you are done, fold up the water bottle and put it in your bag until you return to the room. You will feel better that you are helping to cut waste and also saving some money for that beer you want.

       Please post any questions or comments.

 

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Tip #3 Currency Abroad

      

Have you ever wondered what the best way is to exchange currency when traveling to another country or to avoid pesky foreign fees? We have all seen the currency exchange windows at the airports or foreign city centers. These are a scam. They advertise no commission fees, instead, they change the current conversion rate to be in there favor. Example:

Correct conversion – 1USD = 0.83472 Euros.

Exchange places – 1USD = 0.79367 Euros. See the difference?

This is obviously a bad deal for you. To get the correct conversion rate, ask your bank, what they need to do to make sure you are not changed foreign transaction fees or ATM fees. My account in the US is with Citibank and they changed my account type so that I did not have these fees. Anytime I made a charge using my bank card, the conversion was spot on. You can check the accurate, up to date conversion rates at www.xe.com. European banks also offer such accounts. My credit card, Capitol One, does not charge fees as part of the card benefits by default. Make sure your card has the chip as well. The US banking system is very outdated and most of the world uses cards with the Pass and chip.

This allows you to take cash out of the ATM at the current correct rate. The ATM will ask you what currency you want the withdrawal in. Always choose the currency of the country you are in. If you choose your own currency, that bank will convert the currency for you at a bad rate. So, always choose the currency of that country.

If you still have cash from your home country, save it for when you get home. You may need it in the airport when you get back. Now, if your bank is global, you may be able to exchange cash at a foreign branch, but for a fee. Do the research on your own bank before you leave. Try to limit the amount of cash you have on you while out. Use your bank cards as much as possible. And lastly, if you are eating at the terrace sidewalk tables of an eatery or cafe, ask if there is a fee. Most cities charge them a fee, which they will charge to you.