Credit cards

Handy tips for managing your money on holiday

Spring has definitely sprung, and it seems that everyone has begun to plan their summer holidays abroad. Whether you are planning a weekend in Spain, a cultural trip through Morocco or a month of backpacking in Southeast Asia, it pays – literally – to know how to manage your money while on holiday. Here are a few handy tips that will save you money and save you a headache.

Familiarise yourself with the currency

Once you have your bargain holiday booked, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the currency of the land you will be visiting. Do you need Thai Baht? US Dollars? Danish Kronor? Begin practising simple conversion figures in your head so that you can barter with ease or order a beer without your brain exploding. Consider installing a currency converter app on your phone – these can help take the maths out of your vacation.

When should you get your money?

It’s always handy to arrive in a foreign land with at least a few days worth of cash in your pocket, ready to shell out for taxis, a few meals and your hotel. Try the local post office or your bank for common currencies like US Dollars, Euros or Swiss Francs, and a dedicated currency conversion shop (check online for your most reliable local choice) for rare bills. This useful table from can show you the ten best deals for your currency, including options from local banks, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams and more.

That said, most countries in the world have ATMs on every corner, dispensing local currency with your UK bank card. Many travelers prefer to acquire the lion’s share of their cash in this way – but watch out. Your bank may charge up to five pounds for every overseas ATM transaction, so pull out your money in strategic amounts.

Credit cards and when to use them

Credit cards are a great way to secure hotel and hostel bookings, book flights and provide an extra piece of identification (when needed). Do remember that your bank may charge you an international conversion fee, and will certainly impose levies for using your credit card at an ATM abroad. Check with your bank to prevent your bargain holiday from becoming a cash strapped nightmare.

What are travel cards, and should you try them?

Money cards are a cool new way to protect your funds while you travel, allowing you to access your money via a chip and pin protected card and an app. These components work together, allowing you to move your money between currencies (ideal for multi-country backpacking trips) and back into your bank account when your trip is over. Thomson travel just unveiled a new travel card, and it’s been rated very highly by young people on bargain holidays.

No matter what method you use to keep your finances in order on your holiday, remember to pay attention to hidden fees from ATMs, currency conversion outlets and travel card providers – and enjoy your trip!

Photograph by PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay


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