You have been saving for your dream vacation for months on end and finally you have booked your tickets, packed your bags and are waiting to head out the door and into the unknown. But first there are a few things you should do, and a few tips that you should keep in mind to make sure that all that hard-earned money of yours doesn't go down the drain and instead goes to the things you really want to do. Plus with these tips you may be able to stretch your budget and do even more than you planned!

Save as much as you can before you go

Being proactive about saving is a key tip for any traveller looking to have some extra spending money on their trips. Try collecting spare change or bills in a big jar over time. You'd be surprised how quickly those bills add up to big dividends. As you head out the door, if you haven't allocated that money elsewhere in the budget, use the money you raised from the change jar as your allowance for spontaneous fun and adventures.

Alert your bank and credit card companies before you leave the country

By notifying them ahead of time about your location and plans, they can help protect your financial information and prevent a freeze on your account while you are abroad. No one wants to spend valuable vacation time on the phone with the bank, so by alerting them of your plans beforehand you are saving everyone the hassle of doing so while abroad.

Remember currency Conversions

Foreign money often doesn't feel like real money because you don't have the same psychological connection to it like you do with your normal currency. Don't let this fool you though. Think about the conversion rates when you are taking out money so you don't over- or under-estimate how much you will be spending.

Bring envelopes along where you can store a daily allowance and write down the amount of money in the envelope in your own currency. This will make it easier to split up your money flow and to make sure you don't go overboard on day one of the trip!

Use memberships to your benefit

Are you a student? Still have your student ID? Bring it with you, and see all the savings that students can earn with just their school IDs. The International Student Identity Card offers great discounts around the world as well.

Try to Travel during the off season

This is generally October through April for European and North American countries and from April to December for African, Central American, South American, and Caribbean countries. Some locations, like places in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East vary more around holiday seasons and school breaks than by seasons or particular months. Watch as the prices for lodging, transportation and more plummet as the most popular tourist months pass. You'll find cheaper airfare, more rooms on a budget, and fewer lines. You will get the same location, the same experience, and fewer crowds for less money!

When you do happen to bump into someone else, they are more likely to be from the city instead of a tourist from somewhere else in world. More times than not, travelling during the off-season is a more enjoyable experience than during the peak months when it's hard to see the special places on your list, let alone find a place or space to sit down!

Before you board the plane, make sure that you have international travel insurance in your back pocket to protect your investment and to help save you money in the event that something unexpected occurs on your holiday. Check out Cover-More Australia and compare our plans to find the perfect fit for your next holiday.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Marco Arment