How to Manage Money for Travel
Here are some resources and how to manage money for travel – I hope this saves you some money.
Secretly Manage Money for Travel
Bring two cards, preferably a debit card and a credit card. If one card doesn’t work or get’s blocked you have the other as a backup.
Keep some cash and a card in a separate safe place to your wallet like a locker when staying in a hotel.
I also hide some cash in a good secret place like an empty lip balm or water bottle, they sell these on Ebay or you can make your own.
Bank Fees for Travellers
Check the fees that your bank charges for withdrawing cash on your debit card abroad.
HSBC charges £5 cash withdrawal fee when I take out my maximum allowance of £300 per day, plus 2.75% (£8.75)! That works out to a total of 4.4% or £13.75!
This is why it is cheaper to take cash or second best to pay by card.
On my HSBC Visa credit card it is 3% on non-sterling transactions.
Better Travel Money Options
For a better bank and debit card options see the Best Bank Accounts for International Travellers 2016
Exchange cash to other major currencies and it costs 1-2% at good places like Thomas Exchange Global in London.
I use the XE app to check the exchange rate.
Exchange physical cash before you go or take some with you to exchange when you arrive. If I must get local currency at the airport, I exchange the minimum at the airport and the rest in the city center.
Airports are the worst place to exchange cash charging the highest rates like 6%. The worst banks can charge 3-4%. Go for the small currency exchanges and ask if i give you $100 how much will i get in … currency to make sure there are no commissions.
Choosing Currency and Sending Money
If you are given a choice which currency to pay in at a restaurant or hotel, pay in the local currency. The restaurant will charge you in local currency and then add an exchange fee or bad exchange rate before charging you in US Dollars or Euro’s.
On websites like Airbnb or when buying flights pay in whatever the listing currency is. Airbnb for example charges 3% to pay in another currency. My bank charges 2.75% to pay in a foreign currency. Airbnb uses a bad exchange rate for you and a good one for itself, the bank uses a better rate.
If you need to send money abroad, don’t use your bank, in the UK they charge £25-30. Use Transferwise or Halo Financial which give a better rate and a much lower fee of £7 – £15
In summary, it pays to manage money for travel.