The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional, and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.
In 2022, David Owumi decided to make his first trip to Istanbul, Turkey from Nigeria. He had no form of cash on him except his ATM card. When he landed at the airport, he needed cash in order to pay for taxi to his hotel. But unfortunately, none of the ATMs seemed to work for him.
“I tried and tried, but all the ATMs were rejecting my card! I was stuck at the airport for quite a while because I also didn’t have any friends in Istanbul to pick me up. Eventually, an ATM did work for me, but that was after I was stuck for God knows how long. I ended up leaving the airport tired around midnight.” he reminisced.
For every 9-5 employee, a vacation sounds like the next best thing after sliced bread. However, it is easy to forget to make proper financial plans in the midst of all the excitement, and probably go broke or get stranded in the process.
In today’s episode of Abroad Life, David and Damiliel, seasoned travelers, have tips to save you from premium embarrassment to help navigate finances while vacationing in a foreign country.
“Before you depart, make sure to CHANGE CURRENCIES”
This is David’s first tip, due to his experience shared earlier. As a traveller, it is important to always try to hold in cash, the currency of the country you are going to before you leave.
“Try to make this include the expenses in your entire vacation budget if you can,” he advise.
“Make sure all your daily bills are sorted for the next month”
Damaliel advises that we should not only plan a budget for the trip but also try “to plan for the month ahead when you are back in Nigeria.”
According to him, “Saving in the current economy is quite hard, but it won’t be wise to blow your hard earned money on just the trip alone and come back home hungry. Make sure your daily bills at home are sorted out for at least the next month too.”
“Get your basic amenities sorted out before you leave”
“This includes hotel accommodation, commuting bills within the city, and feeding,” David suggests. He recommends that you try to book a hotel ahead of time that can serve both breakfast and dinner.
“It’s slightly more expensive, but it’s great to get a hotel like this in case you run out of cash, so at least you’ll not be hungry. Most hotels don’t offer lunch, but some do. If you see any like these, you should book those as well,” he says.
In terms of commuting bills, he also suggests that you search online for dedicated taxi companies that can take you around. “At least, even if you run out of money, you can still take yourself to landmarks in the city.”
“In your budget, always make sure to add money for miscellaneous expenses”
Damaliel advises that one should always budget enough money for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. And this was out of personal experience.
He says, “Sometime around 2020 or 2021, I travelled to Dubai and contacted COVID. I needed an extra $700 for a new hotel. If not, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government would have isolated everyone for safety purposes.”
“Always do the math of prices in your head”
David believes that if you are going on vacation, you should try to gather prior knowledge of the conversion rate of the country and how much things cost in general. Especially if you don’t speak their official language or lingua franca.
“If you are travelling to France, for example, and you don’t know how to speak French, it is very easy for you to get swindled of your vacation money. There are conmen everywhere, as well as ‘brick and mortar’ businesses,’ he explains, emphasising that you shouldn’t find it easy to let go of money. “Always do the math of prices in your head.”
“Get travel insurance”
Travel insurance is an important money tip for David, especially if you are travelling to a “visa-free country.”
“For countries that do not require visas, it is highly important to sort out your travel insurance. This is like an official extra budget for you aside from the one you’re carrying in case you fall sick or run into any trouble,” he advises.