That time of the year is almost upon us; the summer months see most individuals embark on travels that range from a short city break to a long-haul adventure. It’s no secret that travelling can soon add up, and while many of are generally prepared for the cost of a holiday, there are ways and means of being savvy with your funds when it comes to the added extras that soon run into double or triple figures.
As the cost of living in the UK is rising, it’s important that we all know the areas in which we can save money. As we have long been told, travel broadens the mind, and this guide aims to help you to get the most out of your money abroad, enabling you to spend it on what really matters.
Travel insurance is one of the most searched things online in the summer months, and while for most, the unlikely event that something goes wrong won’t leave us financially ruined – you never know when you are going to use it.
In truth, most policies are strewn with exclusions and you can never truly be sure when they will pay out, but when it comes to medical cover – it’s always better to have insurance than to have travelled without it.
Buying travel insurance through cashback sites makes it invariably less expensive – often being less than £5 per person. You may even consider buying basic policies that cover medical costs, personal liability and cancellation costs but excludes events such as airport delays.
Credit or Debit?
If you are going to use either a credit or a debit card abroad, it should be one that is designed to be used while travelling, otherwise you can expect hefty fees with both.
Using your standard credit card abroad can see you hit with charges and fees that include penalties each time you spend, cash withdrawal fees, exchange fees, interest charges and non-sterling transaction fees – usually around 3%.
Debit cards aren’t much better, some banks can charge as much as £1.50 per transaction on top of the exchange rate and load charge, meaning that for £5 you spend on the card, you actually pay £6.65 -you can see how your spending can soon rack up!
Seek out specialist cards or accounts for travelling. A credit card is usually a simpler option, as switching current accounts to get the advantage may mean that you miss out on others that benefit you in your everyday life.
Keep in mind, however, that it is vital that you meet the minimum payment and avoid making cash withdrawals – this can be seen by other lenders as you not having enough funds in your current account and impact your credit score.
Another tip when using plastic to pay – when faced with the option of paying in pounds or local currency, always choose the local currency.
By choosing to pay in sterling, you are allowing the retailer to convert the currency, you may not be provided with the best exchange rate, when you choose to pay in the local currency, your card provider will source the best exchange rate for you.
Even though the digital age means that we are moving into a more cashless society, cash still has its place. Paying for transport, splitting a bill or leaving a tip, all require a small account of cash to be carried.
It’s good practice to order your cash in advance; current political landscapes are known to impact the exchange rate, so ordering in advance protects you from any severe fluctuations, as you are locked into that day’s exchange rate.
Most bureaux’s let you order cash up to two weeks in advance, although there is usually a small fee for cancelling the order.
Try to avoid exchanging your currency at the airport – they know you have limited options by the time you reach them and the rates given are atrocious.
It has previously been reported that on average, British holidaymakers miss out on nearly £300 million in travel tax rebates.
Many people simply aren’t aware that VAT or its equivalent paid abroad can be reclaimed when people return.
To finds out if you can claim, research online whether your destinations offer a Goods and Services Tax or VAT rebate. In most instances, you will need to find the dedicated reclaim desk at the airport before you leave as it can’t be claimed once you have returned.
On average, British holidaymakers spend around £227 buying items abroad, so be sure to keep all your receipts to yield a rebate.
That’s where our round-up of money saving tips concludes; as day to day living becomes more expensive, it’s vital that we continue to be smart with our money to continue to adventure! If you have any further tips, why not leave them below?