So you’ve saved up all year to go away for a couple of weeks. The last thing you need is to have trouble with your money if you are going abroad. There are various ways that you can manage your spending abroad, as well as keeping your cash safe.
If you decide to exchange your money into foreign currency before you leave, it is often cheaper doing it locally rather than once you get to the airport. Many exchange bureaus will match the best rate available online when you go to pick up your money. When packing your currency, don’t keep it all together. Split the money up between your bags, or keep it on your person, just in case a bag goes missing in transit.
Alternatively simply use your bank card to get cash out when you need it once abroad. The downfall to this is you may get charged per ATM transaction. The rate of exchange may not be so good either. Make sure you also give your bank a ring to let them know you are going on holiday. Most banks are cautious of fraud if transactions or withdrawals are made in a foreign country or somewhere unusual.
Traveller’s Cheques are rarely used these days, however the one advantage is they can be replaced if they are lost or stolen. Once you have bought your cheques, make sure you sign them as soon as you have received them. You may also want to check where you can cash your cheques abroad – not all businesses accept them.
Travel Money Cards
These are essentially pre-paid credit cards. You won’t need a credit check to get one. They are good if you want to set yourself a budget for the holiday. Be aware however, that you may be charged a small amount for withdrawing cash at an ATM when you use it. There may also be a small charge for depositing funds onto the card.
Using your credit card abroad is convenient, but check the small print before you leave. Some credit card companies charge as much as an additional 3% on top of the rate of exchange. Any purchases you make however will be protected under the Consumer Credit Act should something go wrong, or any goods don’t arrive.
One of the most secure way to send money abroad is by bank transfer. Obviously, this only works if you have a bank abroad you can transfer your money to. If you travel on holiday frequently to a country or if you emigrated to another country and go back to your home country often, it’ll make sense to have a bank account there and keep it funded. You can use your own bank account or open a dedicated one for foreign transfers. Bank transfers are quick and easy to do and can be done online, although there is often a charge for transfers abroad.
When travelling abroad, never carry around more cash than you are going to need that day. Make use of the room safes if you are staying in a reputable hotel. Keep your money and bank cards on your person. Bum bags are extremely practical, but sadly scream “tourist”. Never keep any money or valuables in the pockets of a rucksack as these can be easily pick-pocketed. And finally, always be alert if you are in a crowded place, or travelling on busy public transport.