How to manage your finances when travelling overseas
When you’re on an exciting adventure overseas, the last thing you want to worry about is your finances, fees or exchange rates.
Here are some of our top tips on how to keep your finances secure, minimise fees and free yourself up to enjoy your trip without money worries!
Before you leave
You need to think about how you’ll get your holiday funds overseas. It is not recommended to take a large amount of cash on your person or in your luggage. Not only is it a security risk, but many countries have limits on how much cash you can take in. Taking a small amount of the currency used at your destination can be helpful for things like taxis etc on arrival, but it is best to arrange this beforehand rather than at the airport to avoid the very large exchange fees that airport currency terminals generally charge.
Instead of taking all your holiday money in cash and converting it, you’re far better off looking at an electronic means of transporting your funds. Travel cards have surged in popularity in recent years because they offer an easily portable means of accessing your money overseas, with a number of protections as well. Options differ between providers – some people like the flexibility of a traditional credit card with the added benefits that some travel cards offer no international fees on transactions and 24/7 assistance if your card is lost or stolen. These kinds of cards are particularly helpful if you’re travelling to multiple destinations with a variety of currencies. Other travel cards can be preloaded with a local currency, offering you the peace of mind that you have a set limit to spend.
People often wonder whether travellers cheques are still a good option. They certainly have their place, and offer a higher threshold of security than some other options as you need ID to cash them in. However, they can be cumbersome to work with and do not offer the same convenience as being able to simply withdraw cash from an ATM or use your card in store on a whim.
While you’re away
Tourists often become a target for scams, particularly those who look affluent when travelling through a less well-off area. Being aware of your belongings at all times should help against physical thievery, but even savvy travellers – especially if jetlagged – can be duped by scammers looking to take advantage.
Common scams to be aware of include things like unmetered taxis offering flat fares when you arrive at the airport, which often turn out to be more expensive than metered taxis and can even be dangerous; when standing in a queue to buy tickets at train stations or similar scenarios, scammers may offer to sell you a ticket to bypass the queue at an inflated rate; or, taxi drivers insisting your hotel is closed for refurbishment and taking you elsewhere to a hotel far more expensive. An extensive list of scams to look out for can be found here.
Similar to at home, card skimming has become increasingly common and you must be very careful to conceal your pin entry when withdrawing cash etc, lest an eagle-eyed pickpocket is watching and planning to help themselves to your card or wallet soon after! Check your account regularly and if you notice anything awry, contact your financial institution immediately for assistance. Card providers such as 28 Degrees MasterCard, offer 24/7 assistance, fraud protection, and can quickly replace a card if it becomes lost or compromised so you can continue to enjoy your trip uninterrupted!