After you have already over spent on your trip, the hang over may last a little longer. After you’ve had all that fun it will be a shock when you arrive back home and see all those extra nasty charges courtesy of your credit card company. This travel money guide will help you avoid the post holiday blues.
Travel Money Guide Rule Number 1
Never, ever take a cash advance from your credit card. Not only will you slugged a huge fee, but interest starts accumulating the minute you take that money out (no free days here). But how do I access my money while overseas, you may ask?
You can load a travel card loaded with your preferred currency, or multiple currrencies, from your bank or with Australia Post. Personally, I avoid these because the exchange rates are average, there are fees for the card sometimes as well as fees to reload more money. Inevitably you will end up with a some money left on the card and it is not only is it a hassle to get it back, but the rate can be awful when you do. Also there is always a limited range of currencies available. The only time I have used a travel card is when I know exchange rates have been historically high for my country of destination and I wanted to lock that great rate in. The cons were definitely worth it in this case.
My preferred method of buying goods and services overseas is by obtaining a 28 Degrees Mastercard completely free of charge. There are absolutely no currency conversion fees whatsoever. I first tried this card in Vietnam and it worked a treat, But remember, don’t take cash out otherwise the above number 1 rule applies because it is a CREDIT CARD, so getting back to how do I get my cash out? Apply for a Citibank VISA Debit Card and preload it with your hard earned dula. Make sure you have the account linked with your normal online banking processes so you can transfer more dosh across when you need it. Go to a Citibank ATM at your destination to avoid other charges and voila, cash appears like magic. For the record I have tried the card at other ATMs without charge but don’t count on it! These days it is becoming more common for financial institutions to offer fee free travelling, but check before you go.
If you want to make sure you are getting the best deal with these credit and debit cards then Canstar can provide a comprehensive travel money guide on travel based cards in Australia.
Cash is Still King
It’s probably not a good idea to turn up at the airport hoping the ATM will dispense the local currency. It may be broken or your PIN may not work because you forgot to set or check it your new card before you left. Worse still, the bank may block it because you forgot to tell them you were going overseas and they think it’s stolen (yes this has happened to me – it took me the whole trip to sort it out so always bring a spare card with a different bank). Always bring a small amount of local currency to tie you over for a taxi fare.
Also, some countries you can only travel with cash. For instance, in Iran Visa and Mastercards are banned because of US embargo, which means that US companies are forbidden. However, the US Dollar or Pound Stirling are main currencies in some third world nations.