The content is provided by Nimi Akinkugbe.


The holidays are almost upon us. Whether you are travelling abroad or staying closer to

home, here are some travel money tips to help you save and manage your holiday money.

Make a travel budget

Have you planned for this holiday or are you just going to dip into your savings and head off

no matter the cost? How much can you really afford to spend? Set an overall spending limit

and then determine where it can take you; try to stick to it. There is so much involved -

accommodation, transport fares, food, shopping, entertainment, gifts, telephone calls,

excursions, and so on.

Book early

You really ought to have booked long before now to get the best deals. Fares can vary

considerably depending on the time, day or month of travel. The long school vacation attracts

very steep fares as families across the world embark on their summer holidays. If you are on

a tight budget, avoiding weekend travel often results in huge savings; mid-week travel is

much cheaper than the weekend.

If you travel off-season, you are bound to get better deals than if you go at Christmas time or

during school holidays. Not only will fares be much cheaper and air mile tickets readily

available, but destinations will also be less crowded. Indeed, now is a good time to book your

Christmas travel!

Must you fly direct?

It is so much more convenient to fly directly to your destination, but if you have time to spare,

there are significant savings in considering a flight with a stop over or two. Some passengers

have passed through Dubai from Nigeria, or through Ethiopia on excellent Ethiopian Airlines

to get to Europe and the Americas at very decent fares and with good service.

Inform your bank or credit card company of your travel plans

Don't forget to inform your bank or credit card provider if you are travelling abroad. If they see

unusual transactions from a foreign land, to secure your account from fraud, they may block

your card. It is also best to take along more than one card, in case you experience some

problems with one of them; sadly this is still a common occurrence with some Nigerian debit

and credit cards. Even though we like to be cashless, it always pays to have some cash on

you, just incase the card is declined for whatever reason.

Always keep your bank’s international customer service number handy as well as an

individual name; you might need it. There is nothing worse than being stranded without

money in a foreign land.

Separate your money

Don’t keep all of your cash and cards in the same place incase you are a victim of theft. You

might have a card in your wallet but have another card and cash in a separate bag, just in


Cash is king. If you lose your wallet, your cards are declined, or the ATM has run out of

money, you will be so glad that you had some cash on you. But, avoid having too much cash

on you, as it may not be covered by your travel insurance if it gets lost or stolen. 

Avoid borrowing to go on holiday

There is so much pressure to keep up appearances; children in school want to show their

friends that they travelled “abroad” and with “everyone else” travelling, you just cannot

“afford” to stay at home. Some will even go as far as borrowing to finance an expensive

holiday. Avoid this unless there is the absolute certainty of an impending inflow of funds or a

compelling reason to do so.

Remember that your focus should be on your goals and not on other peoples’ goals; we don't

really know “the Jones” story but they are usually broke and trying to keep up with you!

Buy travel insurance

A medical emergency can literally wipe out your savings. Always take out travel insurance.

For a small premium, protect yourself and your family should one of you fall ill or have an

accident during your travels. This sounds obvious but so many people just don’t bother to

purchase travel insurance, and end up losing a lot of money when things go wrong; this could

rage from cancelled flights, lost money, baggage or getting ill far from home.


Make transport arrangements

You are at your most vulnerable when you first arrive at a new destination. That first airport

taxi ride from the airport may be one of your most expensive so do plan ahead. Try to

research the lower-cost alternatives including train, coach, etc. If you are staying in a fairly

decent hotel, they will usually have a free shuttle service; remember to ask about this when

you are making your booking. It makes you feel safe as well particularly if you are travelling


It’s best to figure all of this out before your trip; when you arrive tired and with tons of

luggage, the last thing you need is to be ripped off by an unscrupulous driver or enter an

unauthorised vehicle and put yourself in an uncertain situation when you’re far from home.

Secure your valuables

Protect valuable documents. If you have ever lost your passport when you are travelling, you

will know that it is a horrid experience. You can be completely stranded and insecure; identity

is critical. Having most of your important documents and photos backed up is essential. Keep

both digital and physical photocopies copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth

certificate, health insurance card, and important phone numbers on you, just in case.

Avoid carrying very expensive items including jewelry when you travel particularly if you

cannot afford to lose them either financially or emotionally. Make use of the hotel safe and

put valuables away.

Cheaper accommodation

Over the last few years, there has been so much innovation in holiday rentals. Local

residents can rent out their rooms, even entire apartments. “AirBnB”, for example, has

transformed accommodation options. Many travelers actually find this experience more

rewarding as it is usually more spacious and cheaper than hotel accommodation.

Be conscious of the exchange rate

Doing a little research on the local exchange rate against your home currency can

make a huge difference. Quickly do your mental arithmetic before you make a

purchase; it helps you make more efficient purchase decisions.

Roaming can cost you

How much could a few texts, a few email checks, social media updates and

downloads on the go possibly cost per day? A lot! Purchase an international roaming plan

that will cover your travels as roaming charges can result in a staggering telephone bill when

you return home.

They are a source of huge expense when you travel and must check emails and

download on the go; don't forget to keep data switched off until you need it. Be

sure of what you will be paying both for making and receiving calls. Pay your bills in

advance so that you don’t get cut off whilst you are away.

Switching to a local sim card as soon as you arrive at your destination is a good

idea; it is always cheaper to make local calls. Make sure that your loved ones

colleagues and key contacts have the number so that you don’t miss important calls.

Pay for a good internet package unless you will be in a connected environment most of the


Secure your finances

Be careful when it comes to making online transfers or dealing with sensitive transactions in

public places, as many hotspots are not at all secure. If you must use them in an airport in

transit for example, be sure to log out completely to protect your self from identity fraud.

What is the essence of a vacation?

Remember the essence of a vacation; it is really about spending quality time with loved ones,

and having time to rest and rejuvenate. This may just be the time to simply stay at home, a

time to revisit your passions, hobbies, pastimes, and sports.

A vacation need not be that expensive. Don’t attempt to pay for what you cannot afford. You

do not have to travel abroad; rediscover your own environment by visiting places close to

home with your children. Have you visited Idanre Hills in Ondo State, the Ogbunike Cave in

Anambra State, Obudu Ranch Resort in Cross River State, Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi

State or Abraka Turf Club in Delta State? Let us get our children to know more about our

beautiful country. If we don’t visit our heritage sites, we cannot expect foreigners and tourists

to visit, spend valuable foreign exchange and create jobs.

With careful planning, you can find a balance between having an enjoyable vacation without

breaking the bank.

Have a great holiday!

Posted by Nimi Akinkugbe

Author Photo
Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe is currently the CEO of Bestman Games, founded in 2012, which brought the globally renowned 'Monopoly' board game to Nigeria. She served as the the Head of Private and Business Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc (formerly known as IBTC Chartered Bank plc). Mrs. Akinkugbe also served as Head of Asset Management and Private Banking Department of IBTC Chartered Bank plc. where she was responsible for IBTC Asset Management Limited. Nimi holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and an MBA from Lagos Business School. She is a Director at The Play Pen (Child Development Centre), The Daisy Management Centre and Bestman Games Ltd. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ajumogobia Science Foundation, Women in Management & Business (WIMBIZ) and the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Artistes Committee. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, writing, travel, boating and orchid gardening.

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