While getting a good deal on flights and accommodation is a sure way to make your next holiday more affordable, this is only the beginning when it comes to saving money whilst travelling. The following five tips will help you to ensure that you don’t spend any more than you need. Let’s face it, the more you save, the more you can travel.
One: Choose the right card
When it comes to what card you should use overseas it’s important to do your research well before you leave. Taking your everyday EFTPOS or credit card is unadvisable, as you will most likely be charged a hefty fee each time you use it. While individually these fees may seem insignificant, they can potentially ad up to hundreds of dollars.
A better choice is a specific travel money card. With many options on the market you will need to shop around for the best deal for you. Some things worth bearing in mind are investing in a card that has multiple currencies, low fees and minimal delays in terms of transferring funds. The last thing you want when you’re in a foreign country is having your money in limbo because it takes three days to appear on your travel money card. For frequent flyers, both Qantas and Virgin now have travel money cards now that include reward points.
Two: Be careful where you change currency
We’ve all been there. You make it to the airport, only to realise you haven’t organised any foreign currency. After you’ve handed over your wad of cash and received seemingly less than you’d hoped too, you kick yourself for being disorganised. Don’t get stung by the foreign exchange booths at airports. They are one of the worst places you could possibly exchange currency, to the point that you’re probably better off using a local ATM.
So, do yourself a favour and plan ahead. Work out what currencies you need for your next trip and ask your local bank to order them in for you. Another good trick is to watch the exchange rates before you go and change some cash when the conversion rates are high. This way if they drop you’ll be thanking yourself for being such a wise person and if they drop, well at least you have some money on you and you only changed a portion of your spending money!
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Three: Pay in foreign currency
Often when you pay by card whilst overseas you will be offered the choice of paying in your native currency. However, this is usually not a smart idea. What they don’t tell you is that you will be charged a conversion fee which can be more than three per cent. Avoid unnecessary fees by opting to pay in the local currency.
Four: Bigger is better
When loading money onto travel money cards, withdrawing cash at a foreign ATM or exchanging money, quantity is the key. While it is admirable to want to keep your expenses down and not be tempted to spend money, unfortunately you will do the opposite if you necessitate more transactions. The more accurately you budget, the less transactions you make and therefore, the fewer fees you pay.
Five: Change cash back
Many people fall into the trap of returning from overseas with leftover foreign currency. This is not such a problem in itself, however, it can become one if you then don’t bother to change it back. We all know all the excuses not too, you’re jetlagged, it’s too hard, and it’s probably not worth anything anyway. But that’s where they’re wrong. Often foreign notes can add up to a reasonable amount of money – money which is much better in your pocket than disintegrating in a drawer somewhere. Unless you’re going to donate foreign cash to a good cause on the way home, change it back so you can put it in the holiday savings jar for your next trip!