(see summary below article)
Tricking the Traveller
Travelling is a true luxury. We are truly fortunate to be on a planet with such an abundance and variety of life and landscape. Travelling offers us the opportunity to escape the mayhem and routine of everyday life and be reminded of just how small we are in the grand scheme. Unfortunately, as you’ll know from your previous travels, this is often not the whole experience. Hidden fees, elevated rates, ATM charges, and so many more factors can make your travels confusing, stressful and expensive. In this article, we’re going to look at what you can do to make sure you’re not getting tricked and overcharged.
Without the right knowledge, you’ll be paying to spend money. Extra charges will be applied to your credit/debit card payments, currency exchanges and more. So what can you do to make sure you’re not caught out by these fees?
When using your credit/debit cards abroad, there are two charges you’ll come across, Foreign Usage and Cash Withdrawal fees. Foreign Usage refers to making payments using your card. In a restaurant, for example, when it comes to paying the bill, you’ll likely be asked if you want to pay in your home currency or the local currency. Frequently, people assume that using your home currency is the way to go. However, when using your home currency, you may be charged an unfavourable, unknown exchange rate. This is an easy way for businesses to take a little extra off the top when serving you. Another fee you’ll likely get when using your cards will be from your bank; be sure to check your international usage fees.
You’ll likely have to withdraw cash while you’re abroad, and you will be charged for this. Unfortunately, this is not an easy charge to work around; you need the cash, the bank has a fee. You will be charged a percentage, regardless of how much you withdraw. This gives you the opportunity to save on being charged to withdraw again later. Ultimately, you want to withdraw as infrequently as possible. The best way to do this is to withdraw a larger amount. Take care when carrying cash overseas as tourist areas often warn of pickpockets operating in the area. While you might think that the capital cities of developed countries would be safe, however, Amsterdam, Rome and Paris are among the destinations known for pickpockets.
Exchanging currencies is an inevitability for most travellers, and finding the exchange bureau with the best offers can take hours. Exchange bureaus will offer an unfavourable exchange rate, giving you less of the local currency than the actual exchange rate offers. Using comparison services like Find.Exchange can make it much faster and easier to find the nearest bureau, with the best rates. This service can also be used to compare prepaid travel cards. Prepaid travel cards can be very effective if used correctly. As you have to top up the card, it’s much easier to make sure you aren’t overspending. However, if you don’t know how to spot the hidden fees, you’ll end up spending just as much money, except now you’ll also have to repeatedly top up your card.
So, now you know the tricks of the trade; or the main financial ones at least. Travelling is all about relaxation and exploration. Hidden fees and currency exchange are the saboteurs of any good holiday, and it needn’t be. Using the tips and tricks we’ve given you, you can take your mind off your money, and enjoy your time.
Check your international usage fee.
When given the choice, pay for things in the local currency.
Withdraw larger amounts, less often to avoid repeated fees.
Be cautious when carrying cash in tourist destinations.
Use comparison services to find the closest exchange bureau, with the best rates. (eg. Find.Exchange)
Exchange more money, less often to avoid repeated fees
Avoid having foreign currency left over when you return home.
Prepaid Travel Cards
Can help you limit your spending when abroad.
They will not necessarily save you money.