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Where Travel Money (and Time) Disappears

Our favorite beach in Hawaii – Lanikai

lanikai hawaii beach beach oahu

One of the things that has struck me since we left on our 6 month adventure 10 days ago is all the little “leaks” coming from our trip funds.

1. Currency conversion.

I earn most of my money in New Zealand dollars but earn some money in USD, GBP, and Australian Dollars. Currently that money is getting transferred into my New Zealand bank account where I’m losing on the currency conversion to New Zealand dollars.

I’m losing again on currency conversion when I use my credit card to make travel purchases in USD and then paying off the credit card each month using funds from my NZ accounts. So frustrating!

I wish I’d set up an international bank account with the ability to deposit and withdraw in multiple currencies before I left home!

There are some options for credit cards that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees that are available to people from the US and UK, but I don’t believe there are any such options for New Zealanders. I checked! That also wouldn’t solve the problem of wanting to keep money in the original currency I earned it in, whereas an international bank account would.

2. Household items.

We stay in apartments that they often don’t have little bits and pieces that you’d expect e.g., cleaning supplies, a dish brush, a pan to put the dust from sweeping in etc.

We keep having to make trips to buy these little bits and pieces. Since we’re so close to a Wal-mart we’ve been able do this easily and cheaply so it hasn’t been too big a drain on the budget.

When staying in apartments like we do, you also need to allow travel budget for household expenses such as replacing the cleaning products you use, toilet paper etc.

3. Extra expenses that are in the form of lost time rather than money.

None of the apartments I’ve stayed in have ever had a washer/dryer in the apartment.

This means doing day to day washing by hand, which takes time, and then finding somewhere to use a washing machine for things like towels and tea towels that are hard to clean well by hand.

Sometimes apartment buildings will have a laundry room in the basement but there isn’t one in our current apartment sublet so we’ll need to find a laundromat.

This isn’t a huge deal but it’s another reason in favor of traveling really slow so you don’t end up resenting the time spent doing these kinds of tasks.

Curiously only one apartment sublet I’ve ever stayed in has had a microwave, so it’s a bit of an adjustment and a bit more time to make oatmeal on the stove and not be able to buy frozen burritos etc (there’s no way I’d run the oven in Hawaii eat to defrost a frozen burrito etc.)

None of the apartmentsI’ve subletted have ever had TVs or landlines, so bring your laptop for watching TV shows (you can watch Hulu in the US for free, get a Netflix free trial for a month, and can buy itunes gift cards to purchase TV shows from the US itunes store without a US credit card).

To be able to make phone calls, get a US SIM card sorted!

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