Guest blog – Bessie Hassan | Money Expert at finder.com.au
Whether you’re travelling for work or leisure, heading overseas can be exciting, but it can also be draining on your hip pocket. From currency conversion fees to expensive accommodation to “tourist taxes”, it can be easy to lose sight of how much you’re spending when you’re busy immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of a new destination.
Tourists are often an easy target for financial scams or fraud, so it’s important to keep your wits about you and to think carefully about how you’re spending your funds. Beyond this, you need to be cautious when managing your money so that you don’t wind up paying excessive fees, taxes or other unnecessary charges during your trip.
Keep the following in mind next time you jetset overseas to ensure that you remain in control of your funds at all times.
Weigh up your travel money options
Before you head abroad, consider the money options available and decide which one will work best for you. For instance, you may want to opt for a prepaid travel money card if you want to lock in a competitive exchange rate, whereas a travel credit card may be suitable if you want to earn rewards points as you spend.
Pay attention to the support currencies available on the card and any product fees that may apply, such as loading fees, currency conversion fees or annual fees (which can be as high as $250 for some travel credit cards).
Finding the right travel money option for your trip will ensure that you’re using the best product for your situation and that you’re not paying for features that you won’t use. For instance, there’s no point signing up for a platinum travel credit card and paying a high annual fee if you’re not going to take advantage of earning rewards as you spend.
Let your bank know of your travel plans
It’s worth letting your bank know that you’re heading overseas. This will help you avoid your card being frozen due to suspicious activity in another country (which often indicates to the bank that your card may have been stolen). You can do this online via your bank’s website or you can call them direct.
Don’t pay the “tourist tax”
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re overseas, but you need to keep your wits about you, especially when visiting major tourist attractions or areas. For instance, think twice before dining in the central business district (CBD) of a city as prices will be inflated. Also, don’t pay for a hire car or accommodation at the airport or hotel as this is likely to be more expensive.
A little common sense never goes astray when it comes to managing your funds abroad.
Don’t fall victim to foreign ATM fees
When you’re in a different country, chances are you won’t know where your nearest bank-branded ATM is located. As a result, it’s likely that you’ll head to a foreign ATM machine, withdraw your funds and cop a withdrawal fee.
Generally, withdrawal fees for non-customers range from $1-$2.50 per transaction, which may not seem like much but it can add up over time.
Paying global ATM withdrawal fees is money down the drain, so try to avoid it at all costs. You can do this by checking if your bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance or otherwise seeing which partner ATMs you can use overseas.
Keep an eye on your bank statements
Regularly review your transaction summary statements online during your trip. Make sure each transaction seems accurate and if you notice anything unusual, notify your bank immediately. As a tourist, you’re a target for financial scams so you need to keep your wits about you.
Heading overseas can be an enriching experience, but it can also be costly if you don’t correctly prepare. Comparing your travel money options, notifying your bank of your travel plans and avoiding the “tourist tax” are just some of the ways you can ensure your next trip is a success.
The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.