Before you start to pack your luggage and buy sun cream, here are eight essential travel money tips that you should take into consideration prior to departing for your holiday destination.
Reduce Banking fees
Check the fees that your bank will charge you to use your bank card abroad – fees can seriously dent a hole in your travel budget. It isn’t too late to open up an account with the Norwich & Peterborough, whose Gold Classic account gives you free card transactions and cash withdrawals abroad.
Another option is the Nationwide FlexPlus account, which gives you free cash withdrawals, but you will pay 2% on card transactions while abroad. There are conditions on both accounts, so make sure that you can meet them, otherwise you will be charged.
Avoid Exchanging money at the airport
As the title suggests, avoid exchanging money at the airport or at ATM’s abroad in train stations and popular tourist attractions, because you will receive a lower rate for your money. Airports and train stations know that you are in need of local currency, so they take advantage of the situation.
Leave your wallet in your hotel room
The worst decision you can make is to take your wallet, full of important cards, out with you while you’re out exploring your holiday destination. Believe me, it can ruin your holiday mood if you have to spend all day calling the UK to cancel all of your cards – instead, think of creative ways to hide your wallet in your hotel room, or, use a safe if the room has one.
Purchase a first aid case; fill it with essential items, but inside the case hide your wallet. Then, put the case inside the bathroom. The last place a thief is going to search is a first aid kit in your bathroom. Never leave your wallet or your passport inside a bag or suitcase, in your room.
Financial protection with a Credit card
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act is your new best friend. It’s a law made in the 1970’s, which means if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card, the provider is equally liable if something goes wrong. So, book a tour and the company goes into administration or doesn’t arrive at your hotel to take you on the tour, you’ll get your money back.
It’s also a good idea to pay your final payment for the holiday, or, flights and hotel with a credit card so that you are financially protected. Obviously, there will be interest if you do not pay the credit off, or, use your credit card abroad, so it’s always best to compare the best deals before purchasing one.
The likes of the Money Saving Expert recommend the Halifax Clarity card because it has no fees when you use it abroad, and no cash withdrawal fee, so this might be an option for you to look into.
Travel with a budget in mind
The last thing you want to return home to our credit card bills or overdraft fees, so it’s a wise idea to stick to a daily budget – of course, don’t let this stop you from having fun, but, plan beforehand to make sure that you have enough money to pay for tours, activities that you want to participate in.
One recommended app is called Monefy, which you can download onto your mobile device and every time you make a withdrawal from your bank, or use your credit card, you can update the app. There is a free and pro version of the app, and it is available in Google Play and the Apple app store.
Watch out for hidden fees
Everywhere you go nowadays there is someone looking to take advantage that you’re a tourist, new to the language, so keep a look out for hidden fees. What we mean by a hidden fee: a payment that isn’t obvious when you book and is a surprise when you come to receive the bill. Hotels, resorts, and taxes are notoriously bad for adding on unexpected fees, so be on the lookout.
Research the local currency
When you arrive in a new country for the first time, the currency can be confusing – some notes will look similar to currency back home, and some notes of the local currency can be the same colour, which causes you to pay more than you should really be. Before you travel look into the currency, the domination of notes and coins. Have a rough idea of how much the notes are in your own currency, so you know how much you are paying for a product.
The XE app is great for converting currency, and in my opinion is the best app. Once you’ve added the currency you can use it offline, which is one of the best features of the app. Make sure you update the app when you have access to the Internet, so you receive the up to date rate.
Backup payment options
Make sure you that you have different methods of payments should anything happen to your main debit card – it’s wise to have at least two ways of paying your bills, such as a travel or credit card, or even a second debit card. You’ll find much more information on this topic on my guide to using bank cards abroad, so please go and have a read of that before travelling.
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