Heading abroad on vacation should be fun and exciting! But getting yourself into unnecessary money troubles can ruin even the best of hols. Keep the good times and your cash flowing by avoiding these 7 money mistakes.
1. Paying bank charges to withdraw your holiday spends
Banks usually charge a transaction fee for each time you use your card or withdraw cash abroad, sometimes up to 3%. But there are banks that don’t charge you to use your card when you go on holiday.
For example, Starling, Monzo and Revolut all offer free use abroad to differing extents. Do check their offerings closely though as they do differ, with some charging fees after a certain time period or level of use.
2. Withdrawing cash on your credit card
Withdrawing cash on your credit card is always a bad idea. The fees involved mean you end up paying through the nose, plus they’ll usually start charging interest right away. But it’s even more costly if you start doing it while you’re abroad with significant extra charges added on.
Nothing beats proper planning and budgeting when it comes to financing your hols. While it may be tempting to give your cash reserves a little boost if they’re running low, you’ll sorely regret it when your statement drops through the letterbox.
3. Only having one money source available
For some inexplicable reason, some people think it’s a good idea to go abroad with just one money source. They might take one big wad of cash, or decide to carry just a single card. Usually this will be a misguided attempt to limit their losses if something bad happens.
But in the case of a genuine emergency this can end up being absolutely disastrous. Getting stuck abroad with no reddies ain’t no fun. Always take a few different options that will allow you to pay for stuff or get your hands on some extra emergency cash if you need it.
4. Exchanging at the airport
Whether it’s through a lack of planning or just sheer ignorance, many travellers still change their money at the airport. But the exchange rates are shash and they often add on extortionate fees as well. It’s literally giving money away.
If you are going to exchange money, think ahead and do it in advance. This way you can check the market and scout around for the best deals. Alternatively, even exchanging at a local currency converter in your destination is likely to have better rates than the airport.
5. Not telling your bank you’re heading abroad
You don’t need to tell most online banks that you’re going overseas if they’re set up to provide zero transaction fees. But as mentioned above, you should be taking multiple cards with you anyway.
Your regular card won’t be much use in an emergency if your bank puts a block on it for suspicious activity. So be sure to inform all your card providers where and when you’re going, even if you’re not actively planning on using the plastic in question.
6. Paying in your home currency
Some retailers and restaurants will allow you to choose whether you want to pay in the local currency or your own. Always opt to pay in the local currency.
Doing this means that your rate is set by your bank, whereas paying in your home currency means the exchange rate is set by whoever you’re paying. More often than not your bank will have a more favourable exchange rate.
7. Not being careful
Don’t make the mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket. If you’re taking cash, split it up and put it in different places rather than carrying one big stash. If you’re relying on cards, do the same.
And whatever you do, never head out with all of your money or cards on your person. Pickpocketing, theft, and even randomly losing stuff happens regardless of where you are in the world.
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