Yes, it’s still freezing cold here in the UK but that does not mean that many of us are not already eagerly looking forward to our summer holidays, with many of us planning to head off abroad. As this is a great time to score bargains on holiday travel – especially on foreign travel – no doubt some of you already have your flights and hotels booked and are already planning your impressive warm-weather wardrobe (in your head at least.)
The one thing that does tend to get overlooked until the last minute, however, is travel money. You know, the actual cash you’ll need in your pocket (that’s figuratively rather than literally for safety’s sake btw) in order to eat, drink shop and be as merry as you’d like during your big trip.
Saving for your holiday expenses is one thing, but just as important is that you manage those savings sensibly once holiday time arrives. Here at LoanPig, we wanted to take the time to walk you through some great tips for managing your travel money that will prevent you from incurring additional charges and make the most of your hard earned cash!
If you are going abroad you are, at some point, going to need to convert at least some of your holiday cash into the local currency. Credit and debit card acceptance is widespread but the chances that they’ll take your VISA card at that cute little roadside stall just off the beach are slim to say the least.
The biggest mistake people make here is to wait until they go to the airport to exchange their money. Airport currency exchanges have notoriously high fees and sometimes even very poor exchange rates, so should be avoided whenever possible.
A better idea? Keep watching the exchange rates and when they tip in your favour head down to the high street bank and change your money there. Even if there are still weeks to go before your holiday you won’t be tempted to spend it, simply because you can’t!
Check your Credit Card Usage Facts Carefully
As we mentioned, credit and debit card use is widespread all over the world now. There will indeed be plenty of places wherever you travel abroad that will happily accept your VISA card, Mastercard or American Express branded plastic. However, before you hand it over, there’s a lot to consider.
The first thing is that many card issuers will decline a foreign transaction automatically on security grounds. To get around this you can contact your card issuer in advance to inform them of your trip, but, as many a holidaymaker has found out, that message does not always seem to get to the right computers and you could find yourself in a bind if you rely on these cards as your main funding source.
The second problem is that many credit cards – and almost all debit cards – charge a fee for foreign transactions and they can be rather large. Therefore it’s crucial you understand all the terms, conditions and fees associated with using your card(s) abroad before you ever do so.
Consider a Prepaid ‘Travel Debit’ Card
A prepaid travel card works in the same way as a debit card and can be loaded up with appropriate currency before you travel. These cards not only save you from carrying around lots of cash while you travel but also help to regulate your spending. Shop around before choosing one though, as the fees can and do vary significantly.
If you are going away on a last minute trip and don’t quite have the time to save money to put towards your trip, something that you can use to keep your holiday funds in place and your bills paid is a flexible loan.
A flexible loan can be used to boost your monthly earnings and you can pay it off in installments at a later date, making it easy to settle once you have returned.Only borrow what you need and can afford to pay back though, or you may find yourself in a financial bind that will seriously crucial your holiday plans for next year!
Make a Holiday Budget and Stick to It
Yes, you want to have fun on holiday. Yes, you’d like to have a few nice meals out and hit a few of the local hotspots. As well you should. But do you really need to buy Auntie Kim that huge straw donkey that costs the equivalent of half a week’s food shop at home? Probably not, even if it is really cute. Or those 100 euro designer flip-flops, when the 20 euro versions generic will suffice.
In addition, thanks to sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp! you can plan some of your excursions in advance and scope out where savings can be made.