We all try to make our money go as far as possible, and even when we jet off on holiday for a week or two there is still a need to squeeze every penny as much as you can. Obviously, there is room to be a little more frivolous when taking a trip away, but the more you can get for your Pound/Euro/Dollar/Peso/Yen/Ringgit (Malaysia); the more you will enjoy your holiday.
So with this is mind, here are some ship shape travel money tips to help you make the most of any trip abroad.
We all use credit and debit cards on a daily basis and, in fact, having coins or even notes in your wallet or purse is becoming a rarer and rarer occurrence. So why not use the same principle when you travel abroad? Pre-paid debit cards offer a safe and simple way to access your money from a foreign country and can be used to withdraw cash from a local ATM or even pay for items directly in store. Simply load your card up with your chosen amount before you depart and you're away.
One of the key plus points of this is that you don't end up carrying large amounts of cash on your person. And if your card gets stolen you can cancel it immediately; safeguarding your balance until a new card is received. Some companies will even offer you two cards to take with you so that one can be kept in a safe place and used if the other should be lost or stolen. Just be sure to check the fees that each company is planning to charge you on your transactions before you load your money onto their brand of card.
If you prefer to forego the travel money card and opt to take cash with you on holiday then it is important that you don't store, or carry, all of this in the same place. Should the worst happen and your luggage gets lost or your bag stolen, the last thing you want is for all your money to be in there.
The best thing to do is to split the money between different bags before you travel and then store anything you don't need for that day in your hotel room's personal safe when you arrive at your destination.
Many people will take their credit or debit card with them on holiday and use it in the same way as they do in their own country. This may seem a simple way to spend whilst you are abroad but it could mean that you end up paying well over the odds in local restaurants and shops. You may be asked if you would like to pay in Sterling (an attractive offer as you can easily judge the cost) but it's likely to end up costing you more.
Often in these situations, the owner will choose their own exchange rate when charging your card and you can bet your last Baht that they are not going to choose the cheapest one. If you really want to take your credit or debit card then the best thing to do is withdraw cash from a local ATM as and when you need it. This means you are likely to be charged a wholesale exchange rate; resulting in you getting a much fairer deal.
Something that will really ruin your holiday is if you return home to excessive bills from your mobile phone provider due to their foreign data charges. Or worse still, you could attempt to withdraw your cash abroad only to find that your bank has blocked the transaction for security reasons.
The best way to avoid either of these from happening is to tell both companies about your travel plans. If your bank knows you will be travelling Europe for the next three weeks then a withdrawal in Bulgaria isn't going to look quite as suspicious.
Likewise, if your mobile phone provider knows about your holiday then they can inform you of any charges you will incur for using your phone abroad and may be able to offer some money saving options. For example, O2 have recently launched their new travel bolt-on for any customers planning a trip to Europe.
Whether you choose to do this on purpose or changing your money totally slips your mind until just before you travel, exchanging money at the airport is always a bad idea. Companies take advantage of desperate travellers who have left it to the last minute and therefore offer largely increased exchange rates.
This is also true for anyone returning from their holidays with foreign currency leftover. Don't be in a rush to change it back to Sterling at the airport. Instead, wait until you are home and shop around for the best deal. This handy site will be able to tell you the best places to exchange travel money into and back from foreign currency.
There are many ways to ensure that you get the most from your travel money and, ultimately, finding a great deal is sure to make the holiday more enjoyable. Whether you are embarking on a European river cruise like these or a Barcelona city break like the ones we have here, we hope that these tips can help put more spending money in your pocket.