The Sneaky Tricks Which Eat Away Your Holiday Cash
You’ve been looking forward to your holiday for months, it’s all paid for, accommodation and travel booked and all you have left to sort out is your travel money.
And that shouldn’t be difficult, right? After all, it’s simply a matter of swapping your pounds for pesos…or euros…or dollars…depending on where you are travelling to.
You could simply wander down to your local bank to get your holiday cash, or if you don’t have the chance to visit the high street, you could even get it from the airport. However, the chances are that if you don’t take the time to organise your travel money you could end up with a very poor deal.
Here are some tips about how to get the most for your money as well as how to spot and avoid the sneaky tricks which grab your cash without you knowing.
Loyalty doesn’t pay
The chances are that you might be planning on either visiting your own bank or perhaps the travel agent where you booked your trip in order to get your holiday cash.
And whilst you will be able to get your money there, the chances are that you will be paying way over the odds.
Exchange rates can vary wildly and the best rates are rarely available on the high street. With exchanging money just one of a range of services provided, banks and travel agents rarely can compete with the deals offered by currency brokers.
To see the difference between the rates available, take a look at an online comparison tool. Not only will you be able to see who on the high street is offering the most competitive rates for the currency you want, you will also be able to check it against online providers. The chances are the online providers will win hands-down – and you won’t even need to make time to queue up at the bank to pick up your cash! Online providers will also offer the option to use a prepaid travel card.
When commission-free doesn’t mean commission-free
One of the things many people know to look for when exchanging their money is the amount being charged in commission.
Many places charge a minimum fee which can make it expensive to change up small sums of money and whilst a flat fee is better, there is also usually a handling levy added on to.
All of this means you simply have to watch as your money melts away before your eyes, leaving less lolly for you to spend on your holiday.
Commission-free deals are amongst the most popular in the high street and unsurprisingly so. Unfortunately, this can be a sneaky way of attracting customers by simply changing the wording. In many cases the exchange rate is simply pumped up in the dealer’s favour – you end up paying more for your cash by getting a poorer exchange rate. But you won’t get charged ‘commission’…
It’s therefore important to take into account both the exchange rate and the amount of commission you will be charged. It is possible to get a good deal on both but again, the most competitive packages will usually be found online. Check comparison sites to track down the best suppliers.
Beware ‘helpful’ sterling payments overseas
There’s not many of us that don’t struggle at times to work out how much that great holiday bargain is going to cost us in ‘real’ money. Converting a foreign currency back into pounds and pennies doesn’t also come easily, especially if you are paying at a till.
What could be better then than retailers who charge you in sterling so you know exactly how much your holiday treats cost?
This is the option many individuals paying by card are offered whilst abroad but on the whole, it’s a very bad idea. Whilst undoubtedly convenient, dynamic currency conversion as it’s known, will mean you pay much more for your foreign holiday binge.
By paying on plastic in sterling whilst overseas, the exchange rate you get will be appalling, as the merchant will profit from the deal. Dynamic currency conversion legally entitles the shop, restaurant or overseas bank you are using to charge extra on top of the exchange rate for allowing you to pay in your home currency. To avoid this make sure you ask for any bills in local currency and decline any offers to pay in sterling.
Getting your travel money is easy but getting the best deal possible and avoiding any traps takes a bit more homework. With the help of online comparison sites you can track down the provider who is offering the best rates and lowest charges, and you can also check to see whether your cash can be delivered to your home free of charge.
And the tricks don’t stop once you’re abroad; make sure you don’t get caught out by paying in sterling and don’t use your credit card to withdraw cash, as you could also get stung with high fees.
By following a few simple rules, you can maximise the amount of holiday money you get and as a result, have that little bit more to splash out to have a really great time.
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