By Allan Olingo
Travelling abroad involves a lot of money. Sometimes poor planning might hurt your finances but if well executed, you might just work within your budgetary limits. It is important to understand the dynamics of spending money abroad so that you do not get unpleasant surprises.
It is always important to know your spending limits and work within those limits. Plan and budget for your travel and holiday to avoid wastage as a result of impulse spending. Get to know what you will need and what it might cost.
Depending on the kind of travel, have a realistic budget so that you do not overspend or incur debts while you are abroad.
It is always advisable to pay for the things you will want to buy using cash to avoid credit card fraud incidences. Pay for most purchases while travelling by using cash you withdraw from ATMs with your debit card.
Pay for as much as possible with cash.
Use universal currencies
If travelling to Europe, using a universal currency like the Euro is recommended as compared to individual countries’ own currency. Euros are acceptable in most European countries and it offers convenience. In any other country, using the American dollar has come to be the favourite and widely acceptable as universal currency. However, it’s advisable to have a little of the local currency to avoid inconveniences or getting overcharged.
Before you travel abroad, confirm with your bank or credit card company that your card will work where you will be travelling to and alert them that you’ll be making withdrawals while travelling. Some banks might freeze your card if it detects unusual spending patterns. It is also important to use worldwide credit card services such as Visa or MasterCard, so that you remain within a safe net in case of credit card fraud.
Depending on the nature and length of your travel abroad, it is advisable to always make sure that the validity periods of your cards won’t expire while you are on your trip. If your card is close to expiry, apply for another one so that you are not inconvenienced.
Enquire from your bank about your daily withdrawal limits while away. This might help with planning. Be aware that many foreign ATMs have their own limits so make your plans within these limits. Talk to your bank so that they can advice you on the best spending patterns while you are out there. You can also check out their partners who will give you better rates.
Banks are required to break out international transaction fees as line items on your statement, helping you to see exactly what you’re paying. Ask about these fees, where they are applicable and when you will be charged. This will help with your planning on the amount you will be able to spend.
Always scout for the best rates for converting your currency. Sometimes people exchange the money before going abroad but it is important to understand the cash limit you are allowed to enter with to a particular country. There are also declaration forms that you will need to sign before checking in, noting the amount of money that you have.