Summer holidays provide the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind. A great way to get away from work and your other commitments, a holiday gives you the chance to fully switch off and take a break. However, holidays can also cause a number of issues too. From causing money concerns to ending up in debt, you could find yourself suffering worse stress after returning from your holiday. But don’t panic! You can avoid these problems by learning how to effectively manage money matters while you’re on holiday with some simple forward planning.
How To Successfully Manage Money Matter On Holiday
1. Set up online banking
If you don’t already have online banking, make sure that you set it up before you travel. Online banking allows you to check your accounts from anywhere at anytime, so that you’ve always got a clear picture of your financial situation. If you need to transfer money abroad, pay some bills or deal with any suspicious payments, you’ll be able to do so through online banking.
2. Let your bank know you’re going abroad
Travellers can encounter problems with their money if they don’t inform their banks that they’re going to be out of the country. If you try to use your card abroad without informing your bank first, you might find that your transactions are blocked. You can save yourself the hassle of not being able to withdraw money or use your card by letting your bank know that you will be using your cards abroad. Some banks allow you to do this via your mobile banking app, meaning you can even do this on the way to the airport if needed.
3. Check your rates and fees
If you plan on using your debit or credit card abroad, make sure you check the fees and rates first. Many banks can impose high withdrawal or conversion rates that can soon add up over the course of your holiday. If your bank is likely to charge you these high fees, you’ll want to look for alternatives to save you money during your travels.
4. Get a travel credit card
An alternative to using your debit card abroad is to get a travel credit card. Unlike spending back at home, travel credit cards can be one of the cheapest ways to spend money abroad. Some of the best travel credit cards offer low or no interest withdrawal rates, as well as low interest on purchases. Provided you pay in full when you return, this can be the easiest way for you to spend money abroad, allowing you to benefit from the best conversion rates, with no fees.
5. Get a prepaid travel card
Another alternative to using your credit or debit card abroad is to get a prepaid travel card. Prepaid travel cards are great for managing money matters abroad as you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending. With prepaid travel cards, you top up the card in advance, which is when the conversion happens. You’ll be given a balance in your chosen currency and will be able to withdraw money as needed without fees. There are some great prepaid travel cards available from the Post Office, Travelex and other providers which offer competitive rates. The downside to travel cards is that they don’t take advantage of the latest exchange rates, but this of course can work in your favour if rates were to become lower while you’re travelling.
Some new types of bank account, like Monzo, also offer favourable rates for withdrawals and spending abroad. Monzo allows you to withdraw fee-free for your first £200, while all purchases are also free using it. These types of accounts are handy to have around, as they can help you budget and limit your fees during your travels.
6. Pick up travel insurance
Travel insurance is an important thing to have when travelling – you never know when you might need it. Having travel insurance will mean that you’re covered against any medical bills you might have to pay, and any loss or theft that you might experience. Some banks offer travel insurance through their premium accounts, but you must make sure the policy is activated before you travel. If you’re travelling to Europe, you can still use your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) to help cover your expenses should you get sick or injured during your holiday.
7. Avoid getting your currency at the airport
Many people leave getting their currency to the last minute, however, doing so could mean that you’re faced with poor exchange rates. It’s worth keeping an eye on the rate in the weeks leading up to your holiday, and take advantage while rates are at their most favourable. You can always buy currency in stages if you’re waiting for payday, but don’t leave it until the last minute as you could be short changed.
8. Set a budget to avoid travel money matters
Having a budget is important during your holiday, as it can be easy to overspend once the holiday mentality takes over. You can set a budget for daily spending so that you don’t go over that amount, or work out what you’re going to do on each day of your holiday so that you can work out the cost of any activities or excursions accordingly. A useful travel tip that many people swear by is to divide the money into envelopes for each day and open them as needed. If you have money left over from one day, it can carry over into another day. Try not to go overboard with your spending abroad, it’s not worth getting into debt over.
9. Don’t carry too much cash
Carrying cash can always be risky, especially if you tend to carry large amounts. Instead of taking all of your money with you, try leaving some locked away in your hotel room and only carry what you need. You can use a mix of cash and cards to spend abroad, which will make it much less risky. It makes sense to take a smaller wallet with you, leaving all unnecessary cards at home so that you’re not faced with the headache of cancelling them all if you were to lose your wallet or have it stolen.
10. Take note of emergency numbers
Before you travel, it’s a good idea to write a list of emergency numbers. Make a note of numbers such as those for cancelling your cards if they get lost or stolen, the number of your insurance company and your bank. Save these in the cloud so that you can access them from your phone, or give a copy to a relative that you can contact if needed. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you’ll be able to resolve any issues much quicker if you have all of the details to hand.
Being smart about money matters abroad can help you have a stress-free holiday. Preparing your finances in advance will mean you can set off without worrying about fees or being left in debt when you return, so do everything you can to get organised.