Travelling costs money. Regardless of whether you are on a backpacker or 5 start budget, you’ll still need to plan how to cover your expenses while you are away.
Cash is convenient and accepted everywhere, but it can also be a security issue. It is always a good idea to arrive in a new country with local tokens to get you through the first couple of days. Carry at least enough cash for transport from the airport, refreshments, and a small amount for luggage trolley hire and arrival tax, which are charged at some airports.
Be wise with your cash. Keep it stored discreetly and don’t carry large amounts. If you can′t obtain the currency of the country you are travelling to, take an internationally accepted currency with you, like US Dollars or British Pounds Sterling.
Outside of small purchases, travellers cheques and internationally accepted credit cards (which can be replaced overseas if lost) are your best bet.
If you are using traveller’s cheques, it is a good idea to investigate where at your destination you can most easily change them into cash. As they need to be changed traveller’s cheques are of most use if you are staying in a city rather than a rural environment.
It is very important to make a copy of the identification numbers of all your cheques, crossing them off the list as they are cashed. Keep this list, along with the receipt for the cheques, in a different place to the cheques themselves – you don′t want to lose the information about the cheques as well, should they become lost or stolen!
If your cheques are stolen or you lose them – they can usually be replaced in 24 hours. The person who bought the cheques must call to ask for the refund – so for the exchange to be this quick you really should buy the cheques yourself.
The exchange rates are generally favourable using credit cards and they are safe and convenient to use. If your card is lost or stolen, you are protected from unauthorised use, from the moment you report it stolen. While there are associated charges, you will also be able to withdraw cash from overseas ATMs using your credit card, should you need to.
Be careful with your credit card. Don’t leave it unattended and keep an eye on your balance daily. If it is duplicated by an unscrupulous vendor, you may find yourself with no access to funds. If you detect an unauthorised transaction, query it immediately.
When overseas, you can use your Cashpoint Card to pay by EFTPOS or use an ATM if your card carries a “PLUS” or “Cirrus” logo. You’ll find them in hundreds of thousands of locations.
Internet banking is easy to access if you have an app installed on your phone or tablet. If you are using a shared computer to access your accounts, be extremely careful to protect your access codes and always remember to logout. It is safest only to log in from your own laptop or device.
Keep a track of your daily spending. Not only will it keep you on track with your holiday budget, but you will quickly realise if you have been overcharged or financially compromised in another way.