3 Tips for Knowing How Much Money to Bring on a Cruise

One of the tops questions when it comes to cruising is how much money to bring.

 

The good news is that when it comes to the cruise itself, you don’t actually need any money at all. You could—quite literally—come as you are, and you wouldn’t need to spend a dime. That’s because most cruises are more or less all-inclusive. Your fare includes your room—known as a cabin or a stateroom on a cruise ship—as well as your food, transportation to all cruise ports, and onboard entertainment. Of course, if you want to spend more money on a cruise, there are plenty of ways you can upgrade the standard offerings to make your vacation even more memorable. But you don’t have to spend more than your base fare if you don’t want to. Now, most people usually end up dropping a few dollars on the ship and in the ports they visit, so you’ll like want to stash a bit of cash in your wallet. But how much? That’s where things get a bit sticky. Check out these three helpful tips for knowing how much money to bring on a cruise.

Find Affordable Pre- and Post-Cruise Accommodations

 1. Paying for Onboard Activities

Money to Bring on a Cruise

When it comes to onboard activities, you actually don’t need any physical cash. In fact, the ship won’t let you pay in cash for any of your purchases. Either when you check in online or when you arrive at the port, you’ll be asked to provide a credit card for each person staying in your room. You can each use a different credit card or the same one—it’s entirely up to you. Every time you buy a poolside cocktail, a shore excursion from the activities desk, a souvenir from the shop, or play the slots in the casino, the charges will go straight on your credit card. It’s that easy. Of course, this also has its disadvantages. It’s easy to lose track of your spending and end up with a hefty bill at the end of your cruise. A great way to prevent any unexpected surprises is to ask guest services for a breakdown of your charges every day or two if the cruise line doesn’t offer an app that lets you see for yourself.

Pro Tip: It’s easy to get carried away treating yourself to a few extras when you’re on vacation. Set yourself a daily allowance and do your best to stick to it!

2. Traveling to Popular Destinations

how much money to bring on a cruise

If your cruise itinerary is headed to popular places like Barcelona or Rome, it’s pretty safe to assume they’ll accept plastic. Pay for any purchases over $10 using a credit card to reduce the amount of cash you need to carry. Have a bit of pocket change in case you want to eat at a street vendor or buy a souvenir from a mom and pop shop. I usually recommend taking the equivalent of $20 to $30 in local currency per day. It’s enough to grab a coffee and a magnet. If you need more, popular destinations will likely have an ATM where you can get more cash on the go.

Pro Tip: Your bank likely won’t accept any coins for exchange when you return home, so make sure to use them all up first. Save the bills if you can.

3. Venturing into Parts Unknown

how much money to bring on a cruise

Knowing how much money to bring on a cruise gets a wee bit trickier when you’re headed into less popular parts of the world. Typically, itineraries offered by river cruises or sailing ships venture into smaller ports that larger ships can’t get into. Sometimes, these places are so small they don’t have an ATM or the ability to accept credit cards, especially in Asia. That said, these places tend not to offer a lot of high-priced items for sale, so you don’t have to worry about having a lot of cash on hand. You’ll likely be able to get by with $20 to $50 in local currency per day, depending on how thrifty you want to be. At markets in Southeast Asia, you can get a whole new outfit for under $10, for example.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to a place like Mexico or the Caribbean, they’ll likely accept U.S. dollars, so you may not need to exchange any money at all. 

Follow these simple tips for knowing how much money to bring on a cruise and you’ll be all set for an awesome vacation you won’t soon forget.

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how much money to bring on a cruise

 

3 Ways to Travel Europe Cheap

There are so many great ways you can travel Europe cheap.

 

So you want to see as much of Europe as you can, but you have limited time and money. Lucky for you, there are a lot of options for getting around Europe for not a lot of money. Follow these easy tips make the most of your European travel budget.

1. Fly Someplace Central

One of the best things about Europe is its compact size. You can get to so many different places fast. But what’s even better? Europe is known for its budget airlines. On a good day, you can get a flight for just a few dollars. A great way to travel cheap is to fly into a central, or hub, city, and then catch a flight someplace else from there. Look for the cheapest deal. If you have time to see a few places, simply look for cheap flights from one city to the next. Another option is to take a train from the hub city. Europe’s rail system is unparalleled. It’s fast, frugal, and easy. It’s especially great for travel within a single country. You can get from Venice to Rome for just a few dollars. And it’s faster than traveling to the airport and waiting for a flight.

For a recent vacation, I found a super cheap flight deal to London Gatwick. As much as I love London, I’ve been there a lot, so I wanted to spend part of my vacation in another country. I found a flight deal to Algarve, Portugal, where I stayed for five days before returning to London for the rest of my trip.

2. Business Travel Advantage

Do you travel for work? If you ever fly overseas, consider tacking a few vacations days onto the beginning or end of your trip. Your company will pay for you to fly overseas, and from there, the world is your oyster. You’ll need to pay out of pocket for airfares and accommodations in any other places you visit, but usually the most expensive part of a trip to Europe is the flight overseas. The rest is just frosting, and you can always find a good deal on the extras, like hotels and activities.

I used to fly to Frankfurt each year for work. I would fly in a few days early and immediately dash off to a different destination. One year, I got a $30 flight to Athens. Another year, it was Prague. The options are endless.

3. Rent a Boat

A great way to travel Europe cheap is by boat. With so many canals and rivers running throughout Europe, there are quite a few companies that offer affordable boat rentals. For a few hundred dollars a week, you can be the captain of your own adventure. Whether you travel via traditional penichette in France or narrowboat in England, your rental fee covers both your transportation costs and accommodations for your entire vacation. Not to mention, you can moor up just about anyplace you want, giving you the opportunity to check out villages and towns you might not otherwise have known existed. And you can save even more money by cooking your own meals on the boat.

These are just a few great ways to travel Europe cheap. What other ideas do you have? Join the conversation by becoming a member of the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

How I Got a Luxury African Safari for Under $2,000

So you want to go on a luxury African safari, but you don’t have a lot of money. Anything is possible if you follow my simple five-star safari planning tips.

 

After months of researching safari tours, I knew exactly where I wanted to stay, which parks I wanted to visit, and what I wanted to do in each one. But I simply didn’t have enough money to fund the kind of experience I was after. Or did I?

It turns out that with a little hard work and perseverance, I could get exactly what I wanted at a price I was comfortable paying. Here’s how I got a five-star, luxury safari experience for under $2,000.

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Luxury African Safari Jeep

Know What You Want and Go After It

I wanted a very specific safari experience, and I went after it. I spent months researching what was available from different safari operators. I investigated various types of accommodations, ranging from glamping in tented camps to hotel chains or independent lodges. I looked into private tours versus group tours. And I explored the kinds of activities you can do in Africa aside from game viewing, including village visits and hot-air-balloon rides.

I researched what different tour operators had to offer and how much they were charging. Then, I decided what I wanted from my experience, how much I wanted to spend, and how long I wanted to be away for. At first, it seemed impossible I would ever find what I wanted at a price I could pay, but I decided to make it happen come Hell or high water.

Ask for What You Want

Once I knew exactly what I wanted from my safari, I crafted a very specific email. I made sure to provide the exact hotels, locations, and activities I wanted to experience. I was very clear about what I didn’t want as well. If you don’t want to get up at 5 a.m. every day for game viewing, include that in your message. Describe exactly your ideal experience.

My email included:

  • Type of tour (private)
  • Approximate dates (September to October)
  • Safari parks (Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru)
  • Hotel names (Serena and Sarova lodges)
  • Activities (hot-air balloon rides, traditional folklore shows, curio shopping)
  • Price ($1,750)

Pro tip: The price you give in your email should be $500 less than you want to pay. This gives you a bit of wiggle room.

Once you’ve drafted your email, send that same message to every reputable tour operator you can find. It’s as simple as performing a quick Google search, clicking “Contact Us,” and pasting your message into a new email for each company. No need to draft a new message each time.

Luxury African Safari Hotel

Negotiate the Best Deal

You will get a lot of responses. And very few will offer what you asked for. But a handful will come close. You will most likely need to bargain a little bit to get the exact price you’re after.

Most of the responses I received were way out of my budget. They were upwards of $3,500 for a 7-to-10 day safari in Kenya. But as more emails came in under $3,000, I started to gain hope that I could negotiate something in my price range. I knew I would likely have to pay more than the $1,750 price tag I’d suggested, but I wasn’t willing to pay more than $2,250 tops.

In the end, three tour operators came to me with prices between $2,000 and $2,250. I was delighted. After a few emails back and forth with each of the operators, I managed to get the price to just shy of $2,000 per person for an 8-day private safari that included every item on my hit list.

I would have loved to spend another 2 days in Kenya, but I wasn’t willing to budge on any other part of my negotiations, so that was my sacrifice. African Sermon Safaris fulfilled every one of my other wishes, and created an experience of a lifetime.

Pro tip: Before wiring funds to the tour company, check it’s the real deal. If so, it will be registered with international agencies. And once you’ve confirmed your booking, fire an email to the hotels where you’ll be staying to be sure they have a reservation in your name before you arrive.

If a luxury African safari is on your bucket list, try these tips to find one in your price range. Then, share your tips with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.


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