8 Tips to Tackle Being Short on Cash While Traveling

It can be very stressful if you’re running out of money while traveling, especially if you are in a foreign country and far away from home and your support system. Fortunately, there are some measures you can put in place to reduce your expenditure, get some income, or otherwise cover your costs until you find a way out of the situation.

So, if you are short on cash while traveling, here are 8 tips to tackle it …

1) Downgrade

Your first consideration when you see your travel money getting low should be whether you can cut costs to make it go further. For many people the most expensive aspect of traveling is accommodation.

So, if you’re staying in hotels when hostels are available, downgrade to a hostel or other cheaper accommodation.

If your situation is particularly dire consider “couch surfing,” which is effectively free. Just remember to read profiles and check references carefully to ensure you are with a safe host.

Of course, this option is not always available, so don’t rely on it exclusively.

2) Eat Street or Local Food

You may also be able to cut costs by altering your dining habits. If you’re going to western chains or classy restaurants, consider switching to cheaper street vendors. The cheapest of these will be those that are aimed at locals, not just tourists looking for an experience and paying a premium because of it. You could also visit local markets and grocery stores and prepare your own food.

We would never suggest starving yourself, but cutting out a meal here and there when you’re very low on cash won’t kill you.

3) Find Work

The obvious answer to needing more money is to earn it.

Your ability to find work will depend on your definition of being “short of cash,” however if you still have enough to get by for now but plan on traveling for a longer period, there’s no reason why you can’t get a job.

Bartending, teaching the English language, manual labor, and jobs within tourism that benefit from an English speaker, are all common options.

While you probably should have thought about this before setting off, it’s never too late to get grafting. You’ll feel much better than relying on others or getting into debt.

4) Freelance Online

Being a digital nomad is all the rage right now and for good reason. With a laptop and access to the internet, you can freelance online from anywhere in the world, be that a beach in Thailand or a coffee shop in Amsterdam.

Using freelancing platforms like UpWork, you can easily sell your writing, design, web development, coding, video editing, or other skills, in a competitive marketplace.

While not everyone will make what might be considered a full-time living, anyone can make enough to help them out if struggling abroad.

5) Get an Online Loan

If you’re in an emergency while traveling, getting a loan online via sites like WhoNeeds500 is fast and easy, as long as you have some form of internet access and can make use of funds in your bank account (i.e. your bank card isn’t blocked etc).

Eligibility requirements are typically lower than a personal loan from the bank and even those with bad credit may still be able to apply.

6) Get a Bank Overdraft

If you’re short on cash and don’t already have one, contacting your bank to set up an overdraft shouldn’t be too difficult. You don’t necessarily have to explain your predicament and many banks will allow you to apply for an overdraft online, with an instant response.

7) Contact Friends and Family

Although nobody likes admitting their mistakes and relying on others, don’t be too proud to contact your friends or family for assistance if you’re in an emergency while traveling. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, wouldn’t you help them out?

One of the easiest ways of sending and reiving money overseas is Western Union, which has tens of thousands of agents in over 200 countries.

8) Contact Your Embassy

While the embassy won’t necessarily give you money, they will be able to provide you with the best advice for your location and situation.

The U.S. Government also has an Emergency Financial Assistance program that can help “citizens who are temporarily destitute abroad because of an unanticipated emergency.”

If all options are exhausted they may be able to provide you with a loan or direct financial assistance.

Fortunately, thanks to the internet and growing international cooperation, it is rare that you will find yourself penniless and with no options while traveling. By taking on board the above tips, you will be able to plan ahead or help yourself out of any existing cash shortage problems.


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