Is it finally time for a holiday? Travel money mistakes cost Aussie travellers almost $1 billion last year, but the key to avoiding travel money mistakes – and any other accidents that could get in the way of your holiday – is to be prepared.
No matter where you’re heading – whether it’s a short beachside stay or an extended backpacking adventure - there are things you can do to save you money and hassle before and during your trip.
Review and compare
Use a website like Lonely Planet to read up on places you visit. Lonely Planet is especially good at giving you insights into the local way of life – including tipping and rough estimates of how much you can expect to live off each day.
To review accommodation, restaurants and sights, try website like TripAdvisor or Google. Other travellers’ reviews can not only help you pick the best places to eat, see and stay - but also help you avoid tourist traps.
When booking accommodation, Booking.com and Trivago can help you get the best deals and compare hotel prices.
To find the cheapest flights and the cheapest dates to fly, explore websites like Skyscanner, Expedia and Webjet – just be aware of any additional booking fees you might incur if booking through them.
Take care of your money matters at home
No one wants to come home to bills, or worse – big bills! Set up direct debits so you don’t get hit with late fees because you missed paying for services on time.
Explore whether it’s worth suspending services like your phone plan or gym membership. Sometimes this may only be worth it if you are going away for an extended period so do your research.
Accessing money overseas
You’re in your dream destination, ready to see sights, eat local food and relax… but you’ll need money for these things! Here are our tips when it comes to accessing your money overseas:
- Find out the common local currency of your destination and whether ATMs are widely available.
- Let your bank know if you’ll be using your bank card overseas. That way, they’ll know your card is safe and won’t cancel it thinking you’re a victim of fraud.
- Always keep a small amount of local currency on you in case you get stranded somewhere without an ATM.
- Download a currency converter and keep a rough currency conversion in mind when shopping overseas to avoid getting confused and potentially ripped off.
- Explore the currency conversion rates and fees associated with travel cards, debit cards and credit cards options using websites such as Finder.com.au and decide which best suits your needs.
- Take other methods of currency such as money to exchange, travellers’ cheques or local currency if ATMs aren’t widely available.
Prepare for the worst
Don’t bank on everything going smoothly!
If something goes wrong overseas, it’s usually not as easily fixed as it is at home. You can’t just stroll in to your bank branch to cancel your bank card or arrange a new one.
Whatever kind of card you use while you’re away – debit, credit or travel, make sure you have a backup card so you can access money if one stops working, is lost or stolen.
Keep your bank’s international phone number and make copies of your important documents. Leave one copy with someone at home and email a copy to yourself so you can log in and view the documents in your inbox wherever you are (or take photocopies with you and store them in a different place to the originals.
Make sure you’re covered
Travel insurance can help cover costs incurred if your need medical attention overseas, as well as theft or damage of your valuables and interrupted or cancelled flights.
The Government’s Smart Traveller website has teamed up with independent consumer research group, Choice to provide a detailed guide on buying travel insurance, read it here.
If you’d like more information on what to do before travelling, the Government’s Smart Traveller website has advice and tips for all kind of travellers.