Hi there! I’m Ross, and I’m a travel and lifestyle blogger from a small village in Fife, Scotland. I’m a full-time Senior Multimedia Designer for a technology company specialising in eLearning and regularly blog as a creative outlet where I can share my photos and adventures. I’m a huge lover of travel and small, Read More
With less than six weeks until my next road trip with Trek America, I thought I would share 3 Trek America Tips to help you save for your next trip with Trek America. I’m super excited to get back on the open road touring the Northeastern USA and Canada. Their’s nothing I like more than exploring North America’s numerous awe-inspiring national parks and cities.
In this post, I’ll cover travel money (and how to avoid charges), how to save money – without thinking, and how to spread the cost of your Trek America trip. Here are 3 of my favourite Trek America tips for saving money.
I thought long and hard about the best way to take travel money with me for my upcoming trip on the Northeastern BLT. Typically, I’ve used a Fairfx card for touring in the USA. Although they are a trusted brand, they do have a $2 fee for cash withdrawals. As I typically withdraw money every few days when in the states, this can add up especially as most US cash machines almost always charge their own fee for withdrawals. As the Northeastern BLT spends a few days in Canada, I wouldn’t be able to use my card to withdraw funds as it’s loaded with US Dollars.
Enter, Monzo – a new app based bank which, as far as I can tell, is perfect for travellers. Monzo is a new FinTech company which uses technology to provide a superior user experience over traditional banking. Pending transactions? A thing of the past. Specifically, Monzo currently offers a pre-paid Mastercard, although they are planning to launch a full current account later this year.
If you sign up for a Monzo account use Money Saving Expert’s link as you will be skipped to the front of the queue to receive your card. Monzo is currently in Beta, and as such, there is usually a waiting list for new sign ups.
Why should you sign up for a Monzo card? I chose Monzo for my next trip because you get the Mastercard exchange rate, which is one of the best there is. The card can be used globally, anywhere in the world which accepts Mastercard and there is no need to let them know you are travelling abroad. Importantly, there is never any fees for spending or withdrawals. Have any money left over when you get home? No problem, as the card can be used in the UK much like a debit card or online. Seems like a no-brainer.
I received my card a few weeks ago, and so far it looks awesome. The app is great, and as well as showing you an overview of all your transactions in real time, you can categorise your transactions to see what you spend most on and see the location of your transactions on a map. The icing on the cake? If you lose your card, you can freeze and unfreeze the card directly from the app if you find it!
I’ll caveat this tip by saying that I’ve yet to use this card abroad and this shouldn’t constitute financial advice. Read other articles and make your decision! The Money Saving Expert link is a good place to start.
Find out more about Monzo.
Do you find it hard to put aside money regularly? If so, the next of my Trek America tips is for you! This time of the year (January and February) for me like many others, is very expensive. Christmas has just past, my car insurance renewal is due, and my Trek America trip is drawing ever closer. The challenge then? Being able to commit to saving money for Trek. All while maintaining my regular savings in my Help To Buy ISA.
One of the ways I’ve managed to commit to saving during these expensive times is by using the help of a robot. Yes, you read that right, a robot! Over the last year, automated savings accounts have become increasing popular thanks to apps like Save With Plum & Chip. I came across Plum at Christmas through a well-timed Facebook ad. Plum is a robot based app which works through Facebook messenger. During the sign-up process – which uses bank-grade security, you connect your current account to Plum.
Plum then automatically analyses your current account and every few days deposits some money into a savings account. These savings are held in your name at Barclays Bank, so your money is always safe. You then interact with your savings via Facebook Messenger and their robot, Plum. I’ve enjoyed this experience to date, and my savings have grown nicely. Plum will occasionally send you a message when you’ve reached a saving milestone (say £50 or £100) to let you know how you’re doing and motivate you along.
Of course, you can see your savings at any time. You just type the command ‘Savings’ into your conversation with Plum. Plum will then tell you in a funny little message just how well your savings are growing. When you want to withdraw money to your current account, your money is easy to access. Just type ‘withdraw’ into your conversation and Plum will ask you how much you’d like to transfer. It’s all really easy.
So far I’ve had no issues, and I can highly recommend Plum to anyone looking to get their saving game on! It’s helped me on my way to my target spending money amount for my upcoming Trek America trip with ease! As Plum is always analysing your income and outgoings, it will never transfer more than you can afford to your savings account. Plum also promises that it will never make you overdrawn.
Find out more about Save With Plum.
The final item in this series of Trek America tips is to consider booking your Trek America trip in advance and spread the cost in monthly manageable chunks. This is something that I’ve done for each of my previous Treks. Trek America typically releases dates for Treks a year in advance or more. For example, 2018 dates went on sale in late 2016! This means that if you can commit to a date, you can simply spread the cost over several months.
Worried about committing to a trip so far in advance? Don’t be! Should you need to change your travel plans, Trek America now offer one free date change for trips as long as it’s 90 days before departure. This is fantastic. I’m booked onto the Mountie for July 2018, and although I have no intention to change plans, it’s good to have this option available. The final balance on most Treks should be paid 8 weeks in advance.
I recommend this method of booking your Trek, just pay a little each month on payday and soon enough the balance is paid off without you ever breaking a sweat!
How about a bonus tip? I have one more Trek America tip up my sleeve in this post. If you’ve been on a Trek trip before, did you know that you are entitled to join the Frequent Trekkers Club. The club offers 5% discount after your first Trek (which can be combined with special offers up to a maximum discount of 20%). After your third Trek, this discount rises to a fantastic 10%! The discount is also valid on tours by their sister company, Grand American Adventures. You also get some other neat benefits including discounts on excursions, photobooks, clothing and gear, and much more. Win Win!
Do you have any Trek America tips to help other Trekkers better save for their trips? Join the discussion below and let us know your favourite tips!