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Holiday Cash Tips for the Health of Your Budget

October 25, 2012

There are very few lucky ones on this Earth who don’t have to worry about their budgets when they’re going on holiday. Most of us tend to work hard for our savings, book our flights or arrange accommodation months in advance, all in an effort to spend as little as we can. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to pay more than you should when you get there, so here are some useful tips:

  • Avoid at all cost to buy cash at the airport. It’s very likely that you’ll get a poor rate, and you’ll also end up paying steep commission charges;
  • Choose a credit card with low foreign currency charges. Most cards charge you between 2,75% and 2,99% for every transaction, and you won’t even see this on your bank statement, because banks tend to take it by manipulating the exchange rate. However, you have options, including cards with 0 loading fees;
  • Avoid drawing cash on your credit card, since you’re likely to pay 3 extra fees: the hidden foreign currency charge, the cash withdrawal charge and interest;
  • If you have to draw cash, opt for drawing larger amounts. In addition to the fees we’ve already told you about, you’ll also pay an additional fee for every transaction, so the more frequent you withdraw, the more you’ll pay;
  • Don’t allow currency conversions, even though some restaurants/shops will offer to convert the Euro bills to Sterling. You’re sure to get very poor exchange rates.
  • Tell your bank that you’re going away to avoid getting your card blocked for “suspicious activities”. And to be extra safe, make sure you get a contact number that’s working 24/7, just in case your card gets blocked anyway.
  • If you rent a car, make sure you read all the fine print. Keep an eye out for their petrol tank clauses and the insurance itself. For the first, you might get charged extra if you return it with an empty tank, and for the second, scams are always a possibility.
  • Remember that communication isn’t cheap. Whether you initiate the calls or receive them, only a couple of minutes on the phone can turn your bill into the Big Bad Wolf. Even more expensive is the mobile access to Internet. You can avoid surprises by asking about these fees before you leave.
  • Read the fine print on your medical insurance, and try to go for a plan that’s a bit more than the lowest offer. Make sure you know your cover limit and in order to avoid not recovering your money in certain situations, try to give out all relevant information on you and your company’s medical conditions.

These are only a couple of the most frequent situations where you can blow up your budget. It’s best to gather as much information as you can before you leave on holiday. The more you know, the less likely it will be to encounter nasty surprises. It’s a pity to limit your fun-related expenses for something that could have easily been avoided.

Hang out on Holiday Team.

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