Traveling abroad is a dream for many, and a lot of planning goes into it. From all the clothes to wear to the accommodation arrangements to deciding on the places to visit, a lot has to be thought out beforehand. And the most important thing is to figure out money matters. Needless to say, you will need ample amount of currency of the country you are traveling to. You will also need to figure out the debit or credit cards you need, ATM services etc. While it may get baffling if you are doing it the first time, don’t worry. It is not as difficult as it seems. And with a little planning, everything can be sorted out easily.
Here are five money-saving tips before doing worldwide transactions.
Cards can be the cheapest way to pay for stuff and withdraw money from cash machines overseas, but only if you use the right one. Using your usual credit or debit card might result in expensive overseas fees, so you could save a lot by getting a special ‘travel-friendly’ credit, debit or prepaid card before you go. If you already have a debit and credit card, find out how much your bank or provider will charge you for using them abroad. This information is usually available online or you can call your bank to find out. Once you know the charges on your current cards, you will have a better idea of what a good deal would look like. You can then use the comparison sites mentioned above to find out what card will give you a better deal. Remember not to focus on just one charge. Some providers will have a low foreign usage charge, but charge a lot more for cash withdrawals or vice versa. So the bottom line is to check the cost of using your credit or debit card overseas. Some cards are designed for travelers – others could give you a nasty surprise.
Avoiding extra charges when abroad needs just a little precautionary thinking. If your card charges a fee each time you use it abroad, use cash or your credit card or prepaid card instead. Withdraw ample amount of cash at once. If you do it in bits you’ll have to pay lots of fees instead of just one (unless you have a card with no transaction fee for cash withdrawals abroad). Take out enough for some days, carry what you need and leave the rest securely where you’re staying.
Pay in the local currency whenever you have the option. You are smart enough to know that paying in the local currency can save you a lot of money as opposed to paying on your own. Just remember to do this and you will have saved ample money.
Use an ATM that is connected to your bank. Some banks are part of a Global ATM Alliance, and if you use an ATM overseas that is connected to your bank’s partnership Alliance, you may find the ATM fee waived or reduced for you. For example, Westpac is part of the Global ATM Alliance, so you can avoid the International ATM fee by using an ATM connected to Westpac NZ, Barclays Bank (UK) or Bank of America (USA), to name a few.
Use ATMs attached to banks. It so happens that when you use standalone ATMs, like those in hostels, hotels, convenience stores or airports, you are likely to be charged a much higher ATM fee than you would if you used an ATM attached to a bank. That’s because you are essentially paying for the convenience of that ATM location. So try to use ATMs attached to banks and save those extra bucks!