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Thursday 15 December 2011

As offices everywhere start to wind down for the year, some lucky ducks are getting ready to pack their bags and head off overseas on a summer holiday.

While warm nights with a margarita in hand may be topmost of mind, there are a few simple things you can put in place beforehand to make sure your travels are as financially stress free as possible.

Standard holiday money advice aside (save like silly first, stick to your budget and make sure you’re insured), here are a few other tips to consider:

1. Bag a bargain

If you managed to get yourself organised months ago, you’ll be sitting pretty. But if you’re more a go-with-the-flow kind of girl, it pays to check out sites like wotif.com and lastminute.com.au that cater for last minute holidaymakers. On the flight front, don’t forget about using your frequent flyer points if you have any tucked away. You’ll get the best mileage using your points for international flights rather than on shorter domestic trips for which there are regularly great deals available.

2. Don’t sweat the dollar

Small increases or decreases in the value of the Australian dollar aren’t going to have that much of an impact on your spending power if you’re planning on travelling overseas, so don’t break a sweat every time you tune into the night’s finance report.

3. Do sweat the fees

What you should be mindful of is how much you’ll be charged by your bank every time you make a withdrawal from an ATM overseas or for every transaction you make on your credit card. Banks typically charge around $5 to $7 per overseas ATM withdrawal and up to $10 per credit card transaction plus they’ll charge you a conversion fee on top (of both).

4. Find the best card for you

It’s a good idea to check out the card comparisons on sites like Mozo and consider picking yourself up a credit card without fees, or even one with free travel insurance included in the deal. Just always be sure to check the conditions of the card and any extra offers very carefully.

5. Consider a prepaid travel card

Alternatively, you could consider taking out a prepaid travel card. For around $10 to $15 you can open an account and transfer foreign currency onto your card then and there at the day’s rate—great if the Aussie dollar is riding high and you’re keen to make the most of it. Your travel card then acts as a debit card at ATMs or when making purchases, and you get charged much lower fees. The other good thing about this type of card is that you can check to see how your balance is faring. It’s then easy to transfer money across from your everyday bank account whenever you want.

Wherever you end up spending your holidays this year, may money be the furthest thing from your mind. We hope you have an enjoyable and safe break and we look forward to seeing you in 2012!

 

 

 

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