Holiday-goers… Holiday Finance Advice!
Summer is just around the corner (even though it may not seem like it looking out of the window right now!) and so there’s a good chance you might have a holiday or two booked. In the euphoria of travelling to a different part of the world where it is probably a lot hotter and more exotic than here in Britain it is easy to get carried away spending too much money and then regret it afterwards. I like to call this the holiday hangover, where you arrive back off the plane and realise you are now poor and it is raining.
So here’s some financial advice for all you holiday-goers this year.
Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending
This is the first and most obvious thing, but only do it it if you’re actually going to stick to it! Give your credit card and your mind a holiday by limiting what you buy to what can safely come out of your bank account. Create a budget, and use it to decide how much money you can afford to spend. Be realistic!
The money you can reasonably spend on gifts and other treats is money that isn't going to bills. But if you do want to have a little more to spend, this doesn't have to be just the money left over at the end of the month - you can also use the money that you would normally spend elsewhere, such as the money you would normally spend on the weekly shop. As long as you are using cash (not cash advances from credit cards) without spending your rent money, you are doing great. Again remember to be realistic about what you are willing to sacrifice
Get a foreign country-friendly credit card
Some credit cards are offering travel-friendly features, but not all are created equal. Did you know some credit cards are much better for international travel than others?
You’ll want to check the fine print of your existing credit cards to see if they charge a foreign currency transaction fee. If they do find a card that doesn’t. Even a mere 2-percent foreign currency transaction could potentially eat up money that could be spent on sightseeing or indulging in local delicacies.
Inform your credit card company of your travel dates
A week before you leave call or email your credit card company and let them know that you’ll be using the card internationally.
You should say something like this: “I want to let you know that I’ll be using my Visa card, ending in XXXX, in France for three weeks. My intended travel dates are July 9 -19th, 2016. I’ll be charging about £XXXX during my trip. Please note this on my account so that I can continue using my credit card while abroad.” This step can prevent a fraud hold being put on your card the first time you try to use it abroad. Whilst this is not the end of the world it is a major and unnecessary inconvenience and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Change cash into the local currency upon arrival, but not at the airport
Don’t be lazy and leave it till the last minute when you’re at the airport to get currency. Due to the convenience factor, the exchange rate is less favourable than that at a local bank or online service and you’ll probably be hit with fees or service charges on top of that, making the overall cost of conversion quite high. It's not the end of the world but it's money that could be used as holiday funds!
I hope this helped and if you would like more financial tips follow us on twitter @MACFinancial