1. Don’t Use Your Debit Card
We all have a tendency to just swipe and swipe those plastic death traps to pulp before we even realizing how much money we spent on stuff. That’s when you look at your statement and start crying and get so annoyed when it takes basically a lifetime for all of those charges to go through and you’re wondering WHERE all your money went. You do not want to do this in Europe and especially not in the UK. Why? Because the pound is ridiculous against the dollar. I’m sitting in a hotel in London right now and the Wifi is 14,99 POUNDS for the day. But that’s like….TWENTY FOUR DOLLARS. Rather than rack up a bunch of foreign charges and all of that, just go to the ATM and take out a set amount every time you need cash. It’s really the best way to keep track of your spending in a foreign currency, and at least if you have the currency you’re less likely to freak out about doing conversions in your head.
2. Guide Books Can Be Helpful, But Always Ask The Locals If You Want The Real Hotness
I was just in Amsterdam and I wanted to know where to go out. Like, what are the hot spots? We read some site on the internet that said that we HAD to go to this one particular club. We show up and…um…yeah. So we’re walking around trying to find an ATM when suddenly, out of nowhere, appear these fabulous gay dudes dressed in edgy fashion holding hands walking with a purpose. I tell my friend, “I want to go wherever they are going because wherever they are going is probably fabulous.” So we….followed them. At a distance, of course! And sure enough, the place they led us was awesome.
3. Cook If You Can
It can get really expensive to eat out all the time. It’s much better if you go to the grocery and buy a bunch of food and cook, if you’re not staying in a hotel or hostel that is. It’s so nice to know that you already have your groceries in the house and your other money can be allocated for other stupid stuff, like big red bus tours and souvenirs.
4. Don’t Carry A Bag
Pickpockets are out there lurking around, yes. But there’s no reason to be deathly afraid that someone is going to snatch your stuff. So please DO NOT wear a fanny pack or other protective gear to shield you from getting pickpocketed. Just leave your bag at home. What do you need, anyway? Bring your camera, some cash, but not all of it, and LEAVE YOUR DEBIT CARD AT HOME. Like I said, you’re not going to be using it anyway so there’s no need to carry it. The one time I got pickpocketed I was getting on a train and the people made the pickpocketing seem like we were just struggling to get into the train, not that they were raping my bag. Anyway, just make it easy on yourself and leave your bag at home. And if you do bring a wallet, keep it in a zipped jacket pocket and be aware of your surroundings.
5. Download What’s App
You probably already know that you should get a local sim card so you can save money on phone calls back to your native land. There are even sites that allow you to get a digital calling card so you can call back home, unlimited, for as low as $4.99 a month! But the real prize is “What’s App,” an app that allows you to text any number in the world, from anywhere, for “free,” so long as there is a data connection or Wifi. It works great. All you have to do is download it and it will tell you the people in your address book who use it.
6. Ask People If They Speak English, Don’t Just Start Talking To Them In English
Sure, a lot of people do speak English, especially if you’re at a hotel, doing touristic things or are staying in a touristic area. But imagine if you were walking around your home city and somebody just approached you, English-speaker, and just started screaming stuff at you in a foreign language you didn’t understand? It’s weird. That’s why you should always ask people if they speak English before you just start talking to them in English.