Spending money on holiday can be quite a complex process, well not the spending of course, that bit is easy. But knowing what rate to use, converting it back to Aussie dollars and carrying cash around can be the hard part.
You will have seen that pretty much everyone, from agents to banks and even the good old Post Office now offer these cards as safer and easier alternatives. One way to think of them is as a modern version of the old travellers cheques. If you are too young to remember them (ahem) you used to have to buy these pieces of paper from a bank, which were used as currency at hotels etc, but you couldn’t use them to get your soy mid strength café latte but had to go to a foreign bank and cash them in and still carry all the cash around with you afterwards.
But wait!! Now these cards enable you to buy foreign currency at a set rate before going overseas. You then have your prepaid MasterCard which you can use as you would any card to buy your souvenirs or withdraw cash at ATMs while you are overseas. The only difference is that your limit is set by you and is not a credit card with high interest and exchange rates. They are accepted at millions of locations!
If you should run into strife, lose your card or it gets stolen by some light fingered pickpocket, they can replace it quickly or provide you with emergency cash.
In the likely event you don't spend it all (wait what??) and you are not planning on using the balance anywhere else, you can request a refund. But is it valid for up to 5 years, so you have plenty of time to spend your leftover cash.
So at Viva/Bucket List Buddy, we now have stocks of these little gems of spending ability and can happily help you start your spending journey. We just wish we could be sipping that café latte with you!
Whether you're packing for a weekend city break, a two-week beach holiday, or a trip of a life time, these are all of the tips you'll ever need for stress-free packing.
Take our advice and start your holiday happier! How to organise your packing:
Roll and vacuum pack
Don't arrive at your destination and be faced with a pile of ironing. To save space and stop creasing, roll your clothes instead of folding them, then place them in vacuum compression bags.
To use these bags, put your clothes in, seal the bag, then squeeze the air out. This will leave you with lots more space in your suitcase and will prevent creases more effectively than folding.
Buy a lightweight suitcase
Don't assume that buying the most expensive designer suitcase will get you an upgrade - instead, it's more likely to attract thieves at the airport and on your travels. It's better to be inconspicuous and go for a lightweight option. If you're using a hard-shell suitcase, this can add up to five kilos of weight before you've even started packing.
Don’t forget your paperwork
Before your trip, make photocopies and/or take photos of your documents (front and back) to pack along or leave with someone at home to email to you in case of an emergency.
Don't photocopy a debit or credit card — instead, keep just the number in a retrievable place. It's easier to replace a lost or stolen passport, rail pass, or car-rental voucher if you have a photocopy that helps prove you really owned what you lost.
Consider bringing a couple extra passport-type pictures, which can expedite the replacement process for a lost or stolen passport.
Comfy walking shoes
Walking is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to take in a new city. On foot, you can spot the details that bring a destination to life. There’s no quicker way to shatter the magic of these immersive cultural experiences than an uncomfortable pair of shoes.
Stock up on your meds
If you have pre-existing medical condition, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems, it is very likely that you will have to take prescription medication with you so it's smart to make a copy of prescriptions for eyewear and medicine before you set off.
Wherever you are headed, you’re going to have great time! Just make sure you think through your list of activities beforehand so that you’re able to bring everything you need and pick the right luggage. And remember, you are travelling in another country so it’s always great to remember these things:
One of the best bits about travelling is the friends you make. Chatting over cocktails or bonding at the beach won’t just offer some life-long memories, but some good friends too – and you’ll also have the perfect place to stay for future getaways.
We thought we’d give you a helping hand on how to make friends on holiday:
People will be much friendlier in return if you're giving off good vibes. It's also well known that a positive outlook can help to improve your mood, meaning you'll be sure to have an awesome holiday.
Happy people have more fun! Yay!
Hang out in the hotel bar
Taking time out in your hotel/resort bar or communal areas will bring you into contact with lots of people. Take a book and relax, you’ll be amazed at how easy it will be to strike up conversations with others who are looking for company.
Before you know it you’ll be hosting your own ‘Happy Hour’ clubs.
Book a cruise
Holidaying on a cruise ship offers perfect opportunities to make pals. You’ll bump into the same people every day and the ship’s entertainment is organised to create a true community feeling.
Just don’t get too competitive about who’s secured a seat at the Captain’s Table.
Jump off the sun lounger and get active
Be brave and do something new and exciting. Scuba diving or a snorkelling trip, paragliding or even a cookery class – you’ll be learning with other people and you’ll pick up a new skill.
Even better you’ll be able to have a good laugh about how you all looked in those wetsuits over a drink in the bar later with your new mates. Perfect day, indeed.
Start a book club
Whether you’re camping for a few weeks or at an all-inclusive resort, there’s nothing more annoying than powering through your reading list way too early. Pop up a poster on the communal noticeboards and kick-start a reading club with other like-minded bookworms.
Wine-tasting, walking tours, archaeology trips – what’s not to like? Book several excursions and you’ll be spending your days with like-minded people and you’ll all have plenty to talk about afterwards. Hopefully over a few bottles of wine bought from that wine-tasting trip.
Go solo and double your fun
Choosing a specially-tailored holiday is one of the best ways to combine fun with friendship. Approaching strangers can be terrifying if you’re shy, but on a tour you’re guaranteed great times, memories and, who knows, you may be booking a holiday next year with the new friend you bonded with this year.
Learn the language
Brush up (even just on a basic level) on your foreign language skills and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the locals and may even develop a few meaningful friendships – at the very least, you'll have fun trying.
The most important part of making new friends is to be confident. It's much harder to meet new people on holiday if you're keeping to your comfort zone.
Relish doing new things and find the excitement in learning about other people. As the saying goes, do something now that your future self with thank you for.
You’ve booked the one-way ticket in search of the trip of a lifetime, and your only goal is to save up and travel as far as possible.
Imagine watching the sun go down in Santorini, or dancing the night away with new life-long friends in Budapest. The dream is all too real, and it’s not so far away from your fingers tips. You’ve worked hard in your career and you deserve this trip of a lifetime. So, we’ve put together some tips for you to consider:
Give up the luxuries
Forking out for a cup of coffee daily adds up very quickly. If you calculate how much you spend on coffee monthly, you could probably afford a one-way plane ticket. It might be time to give up your expensive coffee habit for the time being and save those pennies for coffee and tiramisu in Italy, or a Vietnamese coffee if you’re hitting up Asia.
Other luxuries include, wait for it – shopping. Do you really need that dress or those trainers? You can easily spend the price of a good day trip or several meals whilst travelling on stuff you just don’t need.
One final luxury you should look in to giving up is the car. Yep, we went there. It’s time to start taking public transport, cycling or walking – it’ll prepare you for any hikes you go on. And, you’ll save money on petrol, car maintenance and overpriced parking fees.
This might be sad to hear, but buying gourmet food at the supermarket is literally emptying your pockets. Do you really need to buy that juice or those super-fancy raw protein bars?
Also: avoid buying food on your lunch break and just make it at home instead. Of course, it’s tempting to grab a sandwich on the go but forking out cash daily for your lunch adds up.
Save money on household bills
An easy way to save money is by switching your energy supplier. Comparison sites such as energywatch.com.au make comparing tariffs fairly easy. And, whatever you save each month can go towards a Great Wall of China day tour.
Plan for spontaneity
This may sound contradictory, but it’s essential. Many people resist tracking their spending because it feels constraining. A good solution to this is to build in money that is purely for spontaneous spending.
If you know there’s money in your budget that is there for the sole purpose of spending it, it protects the money that you’re saving into other accounts by providing an outlet for a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Using these little initiatives will pay off in the long term! You’re off on an unforgettable trip, you can’t get much luckier and richer than doing that.
Ready for that unforgettable trip? Start planning your next adventure now.
Do you know how much the average Australian wedding costs now? It’s $36,000 and that’s big chunk of change to drop on a single day’s activity when you can get married and have a honeymoon for less overseas.
But where do you go for a destination wedding? Well we’ve got some great ideas for you but don’t forget these are a starting point; you’ll need to talk to us to develop the perfect destination wedding. You’re unique and you want the best start to married life; don’t get fooled into taking a package wedding – it won’t save you money but it might cost you a lot in happiness.
Fiji – The Island ParadiseFiji loves to host weddings for couples from overseas and Aussies love to get married in Fiji. In fact, nearly half of all destination weddings in the country are for Aussies now. That’s because it’s close to Australia, it’s easy to get to and it’s downright beautiful.
You can get that perfect beach wedding in Fiji and your guests will usually be only too happy to come too because it’s not that far from home.
Bali – Indonesia’s Happy PlaceSure, there are parts of Bali which are over developed and not ideal for weddings but there are other parts of the island which are still a snippet of paradise. The airport is excellent and it’s cheap to get flights from Australia in and out of Bali direct. It is still a little complex to organise a legal wedding but it can be done. There are some restrictions though! Some couples may opt to go for a ceremonial wedding in Bali and a formal registration at home.
The island’s Hindi culture won’t interfere with having a few drinks to celebrate the happy day either.
Thailand – The Land Of SmilesThailand used to be a bit awkward to get married in but today it’s becoming a really popular place to go. It’s a low cost destination but one with a long history of serving guests from overseas in just the right way.
They call Thailand the “Land of Smiles” and it shows in the care and hospitality that you’ll receive if you get married there.
The Cook Islands – South Pacific HeavenThe Cook Islands is becoming a really popular destination for weddings for Australians. That’s because it shares political links with New Zealand and offers endless beautiful beaches and snorkeling spots. It’s a little remote but that’s half the beauty of it – it means that your wedding is the subject of everyone’s attention.
Tahiti – Polynesian PleasureIt’s a more classic destination wedding venue but for a good reason; Tahiti has been showing Aussies hospitality for a very long time now. It’s hard to imagine a more romantic spot than standing on a Tahitian beach with the waves lapping at your toes, with the sun breaking over you as you say your vows. Legal weddings require some advance paperwork and a visit to the town hall, but it is easy to do a symbolic ceremony if you don’t have the time for this.
Italy And EuropeItaly is a sunny and romantic destination and while Europe might seem a long way from Australia; there’s plenty of shared culture and amazing destinations. Marriage in Europe is pretty straightforward too and recognition back home is never a problem.
Don’t Go Online And Book – Plan Your Wedding With A Travel AgentIf you want your wedding to be truly unique and special; you need to call me to discuss the way that a destination can work for you and your love. I’ve spent thirty years working with destinations to deliver dream weddings. Contact me today and let’s get working on yours.
Booking your destination wedding shouldn’t be a rush job conducted online at the last minute for some package of dubious value in wherever isn’t booked solid. It should be a leisurely, planned affair where you work with a travel agent to create the wedding of your dreams. You’re only going to get married once and you ought to make it the most awesome experience that you can. With that in mind – here are 5 questions you should ask your travel agent before you book a destination wedding:
Where Have Other Couples Been And Loved? Unless you have the destination already firmly picked out in your head; it’s a good idea to get some ideas about where you might want to hold the wedding. Talk to your travel agent about other couples in similar circumstances, where did they do? What did they want from their wedding? What was their feedback?
This will also help you get a feel for whether the agent has a real passion for this work or it’s just another service in a long line of travel services. Wedding specialists are likely to shine when they answer this question.
What Does It Take To Get There? You don’t ask this question just for yourselves, you also ask it for your guests. Will people need passports? Will they need visas? What are the pros and cons of travel at that time of year? What are the flight costs likely to be (this will be approximate)?
These are the questions your guests are going to be asking of you; so it’s best to be prepared to answer them.
What Currency Do They Use At The Destination? You may also want to check if there are other acceptable currencies. The Aussie dollar isn’t widely accepted outside of Australia but the US Dollar often is and it can be easier to source than some relatively obscure currency and the rates are often better.
Getting value for money from your destination wedding is important and so is getting the right money.
What Elements Of The Destination Wedding Can Be Customized? You’re not leaving things up to chance and that means, you want to know what lays within your control and what’s being dealt with by the destination team.
This can help ease your mind that you’re making the right decision on the destination and allow you to tailor your day to your needs and your guests’ needs too.
Is There Anything Else Important We Should Know About The Destination? It’s also a good idea to take a high level overview of the destination as a whole. Sure, you’re getting married but you’re also likely to be spending some time there after and before the wedding; why not make sure that it’s the right place for being together at those times too?
Talk To Your Travel Agent You want to talk to your travel agent about your destination wedding. The more you drill down into the details; the more you can be sure that you’re getting exactly what you need. You can’t get that from a website. You can only get it from a wedding travel specialist, like me. So call me today and let’s put your dream wedding into motion[M1] .
[M1]Insert contact us link
Thinking about getting married overseas? Want the dream location to go with your perfect day? That’s awesome but here are the things that you need to know before you start planning that once in a lifetime trip.
You Can Save Money I’ve found that you can save money on a destination wedding. The reason being, other than the high prices of doing things in Australia, that you reduce your guest list substantially. Where maybe 140 people turn up to an Australian wedding bash, around 50 will join you at a destination. However, don’t forget that you’ll probably end up entertaining people for a bit longer at a destination than you would back home too – so don’t expect ridiculous cost savings. You only get those if you cut corners on quality and you don’t want that.
You May Find That Some Guests Moan About It You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you can’t plan a destination wedding without somebody moaning about the costs of flights and hotel. It’s important to remind people that they aren’t required to come that it’s a voluntary process. In my experience, everyone who does go to a destination wedding will have a good time; it’s a vacation as much as it is as chance to join your happiest day and people tend to enjoy the time off.
You May Need To Try Something New It’s good to have an idea of what your wedding should be like but please try to remember that going abroad means that some things are different from Australia. Talk to your travel agent and work out what’s really important early (so you can ensure your destination caters to your priorities) but don’t be afraid to try something new for less important items. That’s half the fun of going overseas.
You Should Think About Your Most Important Guests At The Planning Stage A wedding at Everest Base Camp might be awesome if all your guests are rugged, fit 20-somethings but if you want your 85 year-old grandmother to share your special day; you might want to think about a slightly different option. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon your key themes but you’ll want to talk to your destination wedding travel agent and make sure that you can find a place that balances your dreams and the basic needs of your guests.
You Want A Travel Expert and Not A Travel Package Yes, that’s me. Your wedding day is too important to leave to chance and it shouldn’t be a cookie cutter experience that anybody else can have. That’s fine for a quick vacation (in fact, it’s often perfect) but you want your wedding day to be special and most importantly, you want it to go smoothly. Getting married overseas can be an amazing experience but only if all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Don’t leave it up to chance. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, you’ll be in good hands, so call me when you’re ready to talk about your plans.
Nobody wants to spend their wedding day in a beautiful destination sobbing on the phone to someone back home because everything that could go wrong with their hotel and wedding has gone wrong, do they?
Yet, it’s rather more common that you’d believe. I recently had one such bride crying on the phone to me – she and her beau had reached their dream destination to find that their wedding was going to be a nightmare. The resort wasn’t set up to handle the details and it showed. The most special day of their life will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Packages Are For Quick Breaks Not For Weddings
The packaged wedding industry is a thing. They get a nice brochure of a hotel in Fiji and tell you that this is where your dreams will come true. The trouble is that they’re not really interested in you; they’re interested in a production line of weddings passing through. You’re not a name, you’re a number.
Some of the time, this works out OK too. You get there and everything is acceptable and everything goes without incident. Some of the time, it’s not. The usual wedding organizer is on a month’s leave but the package company didn’t know and booked you in anyway. It’s the middle of the typhoon season, they package company did know but hey, you should have read the small print, right?
There’s a time for pre-packaged breaks and those are for the quick getaways in the working year. If you’re going to pop over to Bali for a week of a few beers on the beach; the little things don’t matter so much. A little leak in the hotel roof onto your jeans is no big deal but if it was your wedding dress…
Bespoke Services Make For Dream Weddings
Your wedding day is supposed to be the most special day of your life. You don’t want it organized like a production line in a factory. You want someone to take an interest in you, your partner and the people coming to celebrate your wedding with you. When you go overseas for a wedding; you need more than a wedding planner – you need a travel agent that knows how weddings work in your destination.
A travel agent can tailor the perfect package for your wedding needs. You can focus on being in love, having an awesome time and creating the right memories to last a life time. Your travel agent will know what’s what and make sure that nothing interferes with your start to married life.
Isn’t That Expensive?
Let me share an industry secret with you. It’s no more expensive to book your destination wedding through a travel agent like me, with 30 years of experience in creating wedding experiences, than it is to book a package online.
Sure, I may sometimes recommend a slightly more expensive hotel than the package or a different approach to something on the day but that’s because I want your day to go without a hitch. But if you were to book that hotel or difference online – it would still cost the same as booking through me.
Don’t Cry On Your Wedding Day, Call Me Today
So what are you waiting for? Don’t call me in floods of tears because things have gone wrong on the day; I can’t do anything about that then. Do call me today and see how we can make your dream wedding a reality in the destination of your choice.
Travel makes you happier and not just because you don’t have to go to work and you can have a Margarita for breakfast – it’s the anticipation!
For some, it’s the adrenalin , for others, it’s an escape from techno world – the opportunity to face time with nature.
Check out Mandi on the radio! Interviewed by Mike Bennett of 101fm about bucket list travel
Article published today in YMag - a good read!