Any traveller knows that a budget can make or break a holiday if you’re not keeping a close eye on it. Because it’s such a crucial part of any holiday planning, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to make the most of your travel money.
Keep checking exchange rates
Knowing the exchange rate is key to not overpaying when loading your travel cards and getting currency. Even though many of us aren’t confident doing the maths for this, there are so many websites and apps that can give you real-time currency conversion at the click of a button. It’s never been easier to check exchange rates, or make sure that you’re getting the best deals on foreign currency.
Pay in the local currency
This may seem obvious, but when paying with your card or withdrawing money with your card from an ATM. If you’re using your British bank card to pay or to withdraw money from an ATM abroad, you will be asked which currency you want to use. Always choose the local currency – it saves you having to work out the exchange rate in the moment, and the exchange rate provided by Visa or Mastercard is typically better than the local bank or merchant.
Check your bank fees
Foreign transaction fees are often among the highest charges you could face on holiday – even if you do pay in the local currency. Before taking your card away with you, read through the fine print on your account – you want phrases like ‘no foreign transaction fees’ for credit cards, and ‘low or no foreign transaction fees’ or ‘no ATM fees’ for debit cards. Many banks who do charge a large amount, so if your bank is going to charge you, you may want to open a new account for travelling. Banks like Starling, Revolut, Chase and Monese are known for offering free cash withdrawals or card payments abroad, but it’s worth shopping around.
Use pre-paid multi-currency travel cards
Prepaid travel cards like those offered by Wise, Revolut or Travelex are a handy way of keeping on top of your budget without the hassle of always using your British card, and any potential overseas charges. Simply top them up with money before your trip, then spend as you would any normal bank card. It also means you have no overdraft or debt worries using these cards, so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying your break.
Avoid private ATMS
Privately owned ATMs are usually the brightly coloured ones that you find in convenient places such as in busy city centres or inside shops. However, we recommend always going to local banks to withdraw any cash, as private ATMs often charge a few pounds just to allow you to withdraw money. Local banks are unlikely to charge you for simply withdrawing money that is already in your name, so even if they’re further away, it’s worth the walk.
For more of our tips, tricks, and holiday deals, check out our News page.