There are numerous options to consider when it comes to travel money. But which is best for you? We review 5 methods of paying for things when you’re on holiday and rate each one according to convenience, safety and affordability.
Travellers Cheques are considered an outdated form of travel money and these days, fewer and fewer retailers accept them, meaning you would have to go to a bank or Bureau de Change anyway. They can be fairly expensive too, depending on where you purchase them, as there is often a service charge and you are not guaranteed the best exchange rate if buying in foreign currency. Traveller’s Cheques are also not the safest option – they can get stolen or lost, which means insurance (an unnecessary expense) and more time in banks should you need to have them re-issued. Plus, they are bulky to carry around and not everybody enjoys wearing a big money pouch!
Your debit card is easy to carry and can’t be used if stolen. If part of a major bank, you will most likely be able to draw cash easily from many ATM s, but at a price… It’s also safer for your budget as it draws only from funds you actually have! The downside is that you will have to notify your bank that you are using it in a foreign country, you may not be able to use it at merchants and retailers and in some instances you may have to change your pin to a 5-digit pin before embarking on your travels.
Credit cards are easy to carry and you may receive “rewards” or “points” for your purchases, but holidaying on credit can be dangerous for your bank balance! You will also have to notify your bank if you plan to swipe in a foreign country. Another con is that your credit card could get stolen or your details “stolen” by unscrupulous merchants or waiting staff – this often takes months to clear up! You will also pay interest if you don’t settle the full amount at the end of the month.
It is always a good idea to enter a country with some local currency cash, to pay for things like taxis or a snack to tide you over before you check into your accommodation. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and bureau de change locations before you leave home or at the airport. Be aware that both these options can prove expensive and you should always check the charges and exchange rates offered before going this route!
1st Contact offers a travel money solution, which allows you to buy travel money – in cash – before you leave, at a great exchange rate! You can collect the money directly from their central London brand or have the cash delivered to your door for a mere £5.
Travel Money Card
An excellent option for travel money these days is a travel money card. It works just like a MasterCard debit card, but loaded with foreign currency prior to departure. The 1st Contact travel Money Card is a convenient, cost effective and safe method of paying for your holiday purchases. Not only do you receive excellent exchange rates, you pay NO fees for swiping in your destination country, no commissions and only a standard, low fee for ATM withdrawals – meaning you can carry a little cash for when you need it, and have a card for larger purchases. You are only spending money you actually have, and you load additional funds online, anytime you want. You also enjoy 24/7 support, via telephone or SMS.
Get a 1st Contact Travel Money Card pre-loaded with the money you need for you holiday, and use it to draw a little cash as soon as you touch down! You could also take along your credit card for emergencies – like if you see a handbag you simply MUST have! If you’re travelling soon – bon voyage! Enjoy your trip and remember – a little investigation into exchange rates, fees and commissions can save you a lot of spending money.