Balancing travel and finances: our bunq story

Natalie and Luka, traveling the world cince February 2022, discovered the advantages of digital banking for their financial management.

February 22, 2024

In February 2022, my wife and I embarked on our biggest adventure yet, an open-ended world trip. After making this decision, we encountered several hurdles along the way, including the topic of financial management. We needed strong partners by our side who were online, reliable, flexible, and not too time-consuming. We were searching for a bank that could provide us with better and more affordable service far away from home than our local bank.

Are you also planning to leave everything behind and start a journey into the unknown? No matter how long you're on the road, you need a reliable financial partner whose digital banking is exemplary and easy to use. Traditional banks are not designed for the digital nomad lifestyle. If you're looking for a bank that suits your lifestyle and pace, it's important to familiarize yourself with the best features that digital banking has to offer. After all, we live in the digital age, and banking has never been easier. When you're on the go, you already have a lot to deal with in terms of budget planning; you don't want to be confronted with high fees on top of that.

We would like to share our story and the 8 main reasons why digital banking has simplified our travels with you.

When we started our world trip two years ago, we never thought it would turn us into digital nomads. Our journey began in the untouched corners of Indonesia, where we traveled from Sumatra to Sulawesi and then to Raja Ampat in West Papua, immersing ourselves in the adventurous life on tropical islands we had never heard of before. Every place, every encounter, and every new culture shaped us. As passionate travelers exploring the world with a backpack and a budget of €30 per day, we learned that managing finances is just as important as having a good travel plan.

We managed to earn our living online in Southeast Asia with a strong passion for photography, videography, and content creation. The challenge of financial management accompanied us from the beginning, but it became greater when it became clear that there was no turning back for us, and we also had to manage multiple accounts as digital nomads. Our private accounts were now joined by business accounts, so it was even more important to have a good overview, also to keep everything well separated.

What was once considered a challenge has now become a pleasant routine thanks to innovative banking tools.

1. Budgeting with multiple sub-accounts

It's a huge plus to be able to manage all our accounts via one platform as we travel from one destination to another. We can automate recurring payments and have real-time access to all account balances and transactions.

2. Currency exchange

With digital banking at bunq, we not only benefit from more favorable exchange rates compared to traditional banks or currency exchange offices, but we also enjoy the convenience of real-time currency conversions and save significantly on the fees incurred when converting currencies for travelers.

3. Saving on international transactions

As digital nomads who often travel, we need the ability to pay and receive money in different countries. We need to be able to handle our finances flexibly and in various currencies. With digital banking, we can make international transactions from anywhere in the world where we have a functioning internet connection. The transfers are faster than with traditional banks, and the fees are much cheaper. As full-time travelers, currency exchange fees can quickly add up, especially when living or traveling in multiple countries in a short period. bunq doesn't charge us any exchange fees, which is a real gain. The money we save with this feature goes directly back into our account for future travels. Even in Australia, during our Working Holiday Visa, we recognized the value of a reliable digital financial partner. We were already satisfied users of fintech banks.

‍4. Receiving salary

We opened a new account in AUD to receive our salary there. Thanks to the simple and cost-effective currency exchange, we were able to exchange it into the currency of the next countries we visited. We didn't even need to open an account with an Australian bank. After several months of hard work, we continued our explorations, finding new adventures in the diverse landscapes and cities of the continent, knowing that we no longer had to worry about finances and their management.

5. Everything is well managed and organized

For us travelers, it is crucial that banking functions are intuitive and easy to use. bunq understands this perfectly and offers an app that works quickly and straightforwardly even with an unreliable internet connection. The sleek and simple design of the app unravels the complexity of banking transactions, allowing us to manage our finances effortlessly and efficiently on the go. Our travels through many other countries continued to strengthen our trust in bunq.

6. Security

Security is paramount in digital banking. In addition to ever-stronger encryption technologies that protect data transmission, additional security options such as two-factor authentication offer further protection. A highlight for us is the option to activate localized card protection. With this feature, the card must be within 100 km of the business where you're shopping for the payment to be authorized, significantly reducing the chances of fraud. Particularly significant for us is that the systems continuously monitor fraudulent activities. In case of any suspicious transactions, we receive immediate notifications and can intervene directly. It's also worth noting that we have to use ATMs less frequently, as they are increasingly being tampered with.

7. Simplicity

We have already written quite a bit about the simplicity of digital banking. Therefore, we summarize the details:

  • User-friendly interface: Clear and intuitive app designs enable easy navigation.

  • 24/7 accessibility: Banking transactions can be done anytime, anywhere via smartphone or computer.

  • Fast transactions: Transfers and payments can be made with just a few clicks.

  • Automation of routine tasks: Standing orders and bill payments can be easily set up. In addition, automatic debits from direct debits provide a high level of security, as they are accompanied by notifications and must be confirmed or rejected by the user.

  • Immediate information: Account balances and transaction history are viewable in real-time.

8. Mastercard credit or debit card

bunq's virtual credit cards are virtual Mastercards that we can use online without ever having to share the details of the physical card. They are also included for free in the plans we use and accompany us with their high acceptance rate wherever we go, no matter how remote the area. With our plan, we have the privilege of receiving up to 3 physical cards that we can use for different purposes as needed. Even if you opt for their free savings plan, a free virtual prepaid credit card is available to us. And the best part? All our cards can be easily linked to Apple/Google Pay, making payments even easier, no matter where our adventures take us.

We learned that immersing ourselves in new cultures and getting to know local customs is even more enriching when you can fully embrace it and don't have to worry about topics like financial management. Having the right financial tools meant being able to focus on the beauty of the world around us - the unexpected encounters, the spontaneous decisions, and the precious moments that make every journey unique.

Our experiences show that it's possible to travel the world while also managing finances effectively. We not only broaden our horizons but also strengthen our relationship with each other. Every new destination, every culture we experience, and every challenge we overcome enriches our lives, our personalities, and our relationship in unexpected and wonderful ways. By using tools that help us manage our finances efficiently, we can focus on what really matters - the experiences, the encounters, and the countless small moments that make a journey unforgettable.

Have you had experiences with digital banking while traveling? How do you manage your finances to make the most of your adventure? bunq has always been a loyal and easy companion for us. If you're ready to take your banking to the next level and digitize your finances, you should definitely check out bunq. Discover how the app can simplify your travel experiences - no matter where you are right now.‍

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Find your perfect fit

Easy Card

Free

Get a free international credit card in less than 5 minutes. Add it to Apple/Google Pay and start making payments today.

Easy Savings

Free

Get a free Savings Account and start growing your money faster with 1,56% interest. No minimum deposit is required!

Easy Bank

€3.99/month

Everything you expect from a mobile bank, and more. Open a bank account in just 5 minutes with your phone and ID.

Easy Bank Pro

€9.99/month

Enjoy full control over your money wherever you go, with true borderless banking, easy budgeting, powerful cards, and much more.

Easy Bank Pro XL

€18.99/month

Discover the full power of mobile banking, with worldwide Travel Insurance, priority support and more trees planted when using your card.

Find your perfect fit

Easy Card

Free

Get a free international credit card in less than 5 minutes. Add it to Apple/Google Pay and start making payments today.

Easy Savings

Free

Get a free Savings Account and start growing your money faster with 1,56% interest. No minimum deposit is required!

Easy Bank

€3.99/month

Everything you expect from a mobile bank, and more. Open a bank account in just 5 minutes with your phone and ID.

Easy Bank Pro

€9.99/month

Enjoy full control over your money wherever you go, with true borderless banking, easy budgeting, powerful cards, and much more.

Easy Bank Pro XL

€18.99/month

Discover the full power of mobile banking, with worldwide Travel Insurance, priority support and more trees planted when using your card.

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Start your 30-day free trial

Open your account in just 5 minutes, directly from your phone.

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Open your account in just 5 minutes, directly from your phone.