Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or plan to head overseas for the first time, there are many simple ways to cut costs without impacting on the fun or comfort of your trip.
Thumbing through well-researched, up-to-date guidebooks helps in discovering little-known delights- and also helps to save money.
Countries differ but, when it comes to shaving costs, here are some general rules to apply.
Never change money at hotel reception desks.
Foreign exchange is an easy profit source for hotels. Staff may tell you their exchange is competitive, but, hotel rates are almost always terrible.
In many countries, money-changer kiosks offer better rates than banks- but not always. Exchanging on the street is begging to be ripped off.
It’s a good idea to have some local currency when arriving in a country. But do a little checking: sometimes it’s better to change money on arrival at the airport rather than in your own country. Also, try and convert what currency you have left at the airport rather than after you get home.
Getting local cash from the ATM is generally cheaper than exchanging money- but check your card will be accepted.
You may also consider having some travelers’ cheques issued in local currency before you leave home to avoid unfavourable exchange rates. To get around paying fees, instead of cashing the cheques at local banks, buy something small with a large cheque and use the change.
Credit cards are a handy way to carry money, as they save on transaction costs and offer reasonable rates of exchange.
The trick is to deposit enough money on to the card to fund your trip before you leave so it acts as a debit card instead of a credit card. Withdrawing money from a credit card that isn’t cashed up is treated as a cash advance.
Withdrawals generally attract a high interest rate which kicks in immediately. The cost of whatever you bought with the cash you withdrew will multiply before you’ve landed back on Australian soil.