Top travel money tips to avoid getting scammed while on vacation
The summer holiday season has officially started, with thousands of Irish passengers expected to travel overseas in the days and weeks to come.
However, despite fears that Covid has subsided, tourists now have the added worry of the cost of living crisis as they try to find ways to cut corners and save money where they can.
Money Saving Expert (MSE) Martin Lewis has shared his top tips for travelers when it comes to travel money, so you don’t end up getting ripped off by exchange rates.
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According to the MSE website, using the wrong card abroad could really hit hard and urges people to be smart when paying for things on holiday.
Here are their top travel money tips:
1. Spending the wrong way could cost you
Ultimately, when you’re abroad, you only want to pay for what you buy, but by doing it the wrong way, many also pay fees on their payment.
To avoid this, ask for a specialized overseas card, then use it every time you go.
Below we have all the details on travel credit cards , travel debit cards and prepaid cards – and cash if that’s your preference.
2. Always pay in local currency
Many hotels, shops and ATMs abroad require this when paying by card.
If you choose your own currency, the retailer does the currency conversion – but the rates can often be poor compared to letting your card do it.
If you have an excellent card abroad, ALWAYS choose the local currency, because your card makes the exchange, and it is unbeatable.
If you use a standard credit or debit card, it’s touch and go.
Sometimes the card machine will show you the “non-euro cash fee”. If it’s less than 2.5%, go for the euro. If it’s over, choose the local currency.
3. Check your cards
Never blindly spend abroad with ANY card – find out what it would cost to pay with your existing plastic before you slip it into your suitcase.
Best Travel Money Options
The type of travel money you should use depends on your preferences and situation. There are four main payment methods you should choose from before going abroad:
4. Avoid changing money at the airport
Using an airport desk is the easiest option, but it’s such a mess. Airport and ferry port fares are usually abysmal because they know they are the last port of call and you are a captive customer.
Much better than you use TravelMoneyMax before you go, or if you left it too late, at least order ahead online for airport pick up to get better rates.
Do not buy travel money or load a prepaid card with a credit card
If you buy foreign currency at an exchange office or online via TravelMoneyMax there are hidden charges you might face if you use a credit card.
Buying currency is considered a cash withdrawal, so you may face a myriad of fees including cash withdrawal fees, interest, or even credit card fees charged by the exchange office. Some card providers also treat loading a prepaid card using a credit card as a cash withdrawal.
So if you buy foreign currency or load a prepaid card, ALWAYS use a debit card, which is not allowed to charge these fees, or withdraw cash and pay with that instead.
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