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Travel Money Tips

Travel Money Tips

Travel money is one of the key factors you will have to consider when on any trip. With the potential for multiple currencies, and different exchange rates, it is helpful to have an idea of key considerations.

Purchase before you leave

The cost of doing otherwise, such as when you get to your destination, can be high - do your research well in advance and if possible get together all you will need for your trip prior to departure.

Expert with Points has a comprehensive and regularly updated guide to credit cards offering commission-free purchases abroad, also known as 0% foreign transaction fees (FX) (link here).

Amount to take

It is generally a good idea to bring a greater amount with you than you plan on spending. By doing this, you minimise any need to source money abroad, which may be costly. Depending on your bank, ATM fees in foreign countries can be high for cash withdrawals, and you may not either be able to locate a bank or find an ATM machine, and sometimes these can be closed (such as at a weekend, or closed on a certain weekday).

Further to this, if you end up with too much cash when your trip is over, there is no need to go on a last-minute spending spree to get rid of it. Most travel money companies tend to offer a 'buyback' option, whereby they will purchase any of your remaining currency at the same rate you initially purchased it at.

Safety

Keep some of your cash separate, have some notes and coins held in a different place on you (e.g. wallet, backpack, handbag), this will ensure that you have some form of back-up in case of a robbery.

Tipping

Cash is predominantly useful when abroad for tipping - you will notice this likely when you first arrive and take a taxi! It is always a good idea to have a quick look, prior to your trip, at the tipping customs in your destination country. Have to hand, at all times, smaller denominations of cash, so that tipping people such as hotel room cleaners, porters, and taxi drivers do not end up costing you a huge amount.

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Student card

If you have one, bring along your student card - as it is surprising just how many places this can be used. From museum entry to cinema tickets, your student card can save a decent amount of money over the course of a trip.

An alternative to cash: pre-paid currency card

Pre-paid cards are an excellent alternative to carrying around a large amount of cash on any trip. Working much like a debit card at home, currency cards can be loaded prior to your trip with your home currency being converted to a currency of your choice. You can then withdraw cash from ATMs, use the card anywhere that accepts the issuer, and safeguard against losing actual cash.

Notify card companies

If you are planning to use one of your cards abroad, or even if you are not - but are still taking the card as a backup option or otherwise, it is highly worthwhile notifying your card companies when you will be gone, how long for, and where you will be going. By doing this, you reduce the risk of the card companies defining any transaction you complete abroad as fraudulent and result in a decreased chance of your card being blocked. Most banks and building societies will let you do this online, but if in doubt give yours a call and they will advise on the process.

Thomas Goddard

Thomas Goddard

Thomas is Expert with Points' travel writer, covering a variety of travel locations with handy guides on the must-see places on any trip.

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