I'm starting a new "Smart Travel" series and this is the first instalment all about finances and money whilst you are away. Some of these points are basic common sense, others I've done the leg work for you.
Buy travel insurance. Read the ins and outs.
Are you covered for Ice skating? No? Don't go ice-skating. If you travel uninsured you're a mug.
Don't expect me to donate to your Just giving page. Get insurance!
Currently I'm using Multitrip Travel Insurance which covers me for every country in the world and I have access to an online portal to make a claim if needed. They also offer varying kinds of insurance such as Backpackers, Family and Single trips.
Some other reputable companies are: World Nomads - They allow you to buy cover when you are still travelling, so if you want to extend your trip you can do so. They also make the claiming process easy by allowing you to claim online.
STA Backpackers insurance - Covers your for activities in over 133 countries, it also comes with a free Student Discount card to use in retail, accommodation and flights. It will also cover you for certain disasters such as being robbed from an ATM.
Always negotiate the price of a taxi before getting in.
If language barriers are an issue and finger counting isn't helping then use your mobile calculator on your phone. I always ask our Airbnb host roughly how much we should be expected to pay for a taxi trip.
Also once you know the price of the taxi, get the money out of your purse whilst you are still in the car. It saves you rumbling around in your wallet flaunting your cash around. It makes the exchange much quicker and smoother.
Hide a $100 bill somewhere in your bag.
Maybe inside your toiletries bag. Who's gonna look in there? US Dollars are international and usually accepted at Currency exchanges worldwide.
It's important to carry spare money separately from your main purse. If one goes missing at least you have a back up until your new bank card arrives.
Get an emergency credit card
Never use it, forget about it almost but you never know when you might need to take an emergency last minute flight home.
Top Tip: remember your PIN.
If you want to use your credit card a lot whilst on the road it's worth researching which ones will offer your mileage points. Click this link to find the best deal for you.
If you are booking flights online, it is smarter to use a credit card to pay for them. By purchasing a large expensive item on a credit card it allows you to have extra protection if the flight company goes bust.
This is what the Money Advice service has to say:
"If you use your credit card to buy something, such as goods or a holiday, costing over £100 and up to £30,000, you’re covered by ‘section 75’ of the Consumer Credit Act.
This means the credit card company has equal responsibility (or ‘liability’) with the seller if there’s a problem with the things you’ve bought or the company you’ve bought them from fails."
Put your bank telephone numbers straight into your mobile phone.
If your card is lost/stolen or you cannot take money out then you can directly call them via your mobile.
Top Tip: tell your bank you're travelling so they won't block your card for suspicious activity.
Emergency telephone numbers: (If calling from abroad)
Royal Bank of Scotland - +44 (0)1268 500 813
Halifax - +44 (0) 113 242 8196.
Santander -+44 (0) 1268 240 787
Barclay's - +44 2476 842 099
Download xe.com for up to date currency rates.
The desktop version and app are quick and easy to use.
The app works offline too, but remember to download your preferred currency rates beforehand or it won't work if you don't have an internet connection.
Get your hands on a pre-paid travel card.
The advantages of prepaid cards are obvious: they’re safer than cash, easy to get, universally accepted and convenient to use. Some prepaid cards can even save you on exchange fees if you pre-load them with the local currency before you leave home. Finally, since a prepaid travel card isn’t a credit card, it requires no credit check or top-tier credit score.
Top Tip: Allow plenty time for the card to arrive on your doorstep before your leave. (Usually take around 1 week to arrive)
I use a Caxton Mastercard Currency Card - which has no card fees and no transaction fees or ATM fees abroad.
The card I use with my partner is the STA Travel Prepaid Cash Card.
This card comes with £10 cash already pre-loaded to start you off, comes with a free second card to use and has free UK and overseas transactions. The card also comes with an app which allows you too top up the card.
Smaller notes in cash based countries.
For the most part the ATM's will spew out large notes which in a corner shop isn't ideal, to avoid getting dirty looks from the local shop keepers head into the nearest bank and ask to exchange the large notes for smaller ones.
Thanks for reading my piece on all things finance, I hope you found it useful. What would be your top tip?