Guest Post: Kirsty Lamont, money expert at Mozo, shares how to avoid money drains while travelling overseas.
When the New Year rings in, I tend to hear friends and family say their resolution is to travel more but spend less while doing it. But holidaying overseas isn’t always cheap, and from the moment you start blocking out annual leave dates in the calendar, getting swept up in the excitement of a holiday can mean a money hangover when you get home (or before you leave).
Hearing friends make their travel resolutions got me thinking about the biggest travel money traps I encountered last year and how easily they could have been avoided. To help you avoid the same traps, here are some no-fuss travel money tips to follow.
#1 Pack the right plastic
Everybody knows how easy it is to get swept up in holiday spending – someone’s got to buy all those souvenirs and poolside cocktails after all! One great strategy is to pay with plastic all the time, because it means you’ll have a record of what you spent and where.
But just like looking outside the big banks will often mean better value when it comes to IMT, when it comes to travelling overseas, not all credit cards are created equal. So instead of sticking your regular credit card in your carry-on, it’s worth taking the time to seek out a card specially made for travel, with no foreign exchange margin and no overseas ATM fees to eat into your holiday budget.
#2 Research your destination
You’re probably already pretty familiar with parts of your destination, like where to find the big attractions, where to go for local cuisine, and what language you’ll be miming your way through. Well, it pays to be familiar with how people spend as well.
For example, don’t assume you’ll be able to make a late night trip to an ATM in Japan, and when in Vietnam, avoid the airport forex counter and head to a local jeweler to get the best exchange rates. It’s also worth knowing whether cash or card is preferred where you’re headed, though it’s a good idea to be prepared for both.
#3 Don’t skimp on travel insurance
Nothing puts a damper on the globetrotting experience quite like an accident and a huge hospital bill to match, which is why having a top notch travel insurance policy is key to any money savvy holiday.
Make sure to buy your policy before shelling out for things like flights or accommodation – that way, they’ll be covered under your policy’s cancellation benefit. You should also be familiar with your policy exclusions – according to MoneySmart, 58% of people don’t look at these exclusions, which means they could find themselves in trouble if they need to make a claim. Lastly, if your Christmas vacation includes hitting the slopes or relaxing on a cruise, remember that you may need to add extra cover for these activities, so always read the fine print.
#4 Be wary of that cheap flight
Snapping up a cheap flight gives me thrills – especially when I’m planning trips to look forward to in the year ahead. But as seasoned travellers know, what looks like an amazing deal on the surface isn’t always as sweet as it sounds.
Mozo research has found that a long stopover in some of the world’s most popular airports could wind up adding hundreds of dollars to your holiday costs. Between a hotel room for the night, an airport dinner and currency exchange rates, you might have been better off paying a little extra for the flight, eating and sleeping on the plane and arriving at your destination sooner, so weigh the pros and cons carefully.
These are really simple tips that can make a huge difference, so make sure you spend some time on your travel money set up before you get swept up in the excitement of your 2019 travel plans.
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