Heading overseas on a European getaway? Here are some top tips for getting the most out of your spending money.
Having Multiple Payment Methods
If you’re planning on seeing the sights of Europe, it can be beneficial to have access to multiple payment methods. Travel cards are a great way to carry around large amounts of foreign money. Having physical cash such as Euro’s can help pay for smaller purchases such as coffees or souvenirs when you are out and about.
Having your Australian debit or credit card as a back-up can also give you the flexibility of having access to additional funds if you start running low. Splitting up your cash can also reduce the risk of misplacing, losing or all of your travel money getting stolen. At least, this way you can be safe in the knowledge, knowing that you still have some money left.
Using Your Aussie Debit or Credit Card Abroad
Dependent on your bank, making purchases overseas with your personal debit or credit card can sometimes charge you additional costs. In Europe, for the majority of the time, it’s better to pay in local currency as opposed to trying to pay in Australian Dollars. If you would like to use your bank card overseas, it can be worthwhile checking with your provider to see what fees you can expect to incur.
Exchanging Currency At Airports
Airports across the globe are notoriously bad when it comes to exchanging your Aussie Dollars into foreign cash. Europe is no exception. Given that airports have a highly captive audience and the options to exchange money are fairly limited, expect to see weak exchange rates and high commission fees. Better exchange rates are likely to be found on home soil or it could be better off finding a local ATM or currency exchange provider at your chosen European travel destination (once you’ve left the Airport).
If you’re planning on booking, or have already booked internal flights to hop between different European countries, it’s worthwhile checking your luggage situation. Many low-cost airlines that operate within Europe are similar to the likes of Jetstar or Tigerair where checked bags can cost additional money. Making sure you book any checked luggage ahead of your flight can save you heaps of money. Paying for additional luggage at the counter just before you depart can sometimes cost twice as much as pre-booking it!
Travel Cards Terms and Conditions
If you’re considering loading up a travel card or prepaid Cash Passport, make sure you are fully aware of all terms and conditions.
Abhishek Sharma from currency exchange provider ForeignXchange said: “Prepaid travel cards are a great way for travelers to take larger sums of currency overseas. They’re easy to top-up and you don’t have to carry around large amounts of cash. It’s really important to know what your card can and can’t do. Some travel cards have minimum top-up amounts and others will only allow you to carry limited foreign currencies.”
After all, you don’t want to have to load up a travel card with more funds than necessary.
ATM Withdrawals: Understanding The Costs & Fees
Unlike other travel destinations, most of the time an ATM won’t be too far away from you. No matter where you end up in Europe. However, it can be worthwhile knowing how much each withdrawal could cost you. If you need to make a withdrawal, taking out all the cash that you need in one transaction, could save you a considerable amount of money. Rather than paying costs every time you take money out, withdraw all the money that you need in one go and pay the transaction fee just once.
Again, it is advisable to check with your bank to see how much you can expect to be charged for each withdrawal you make when you are overseas.
Carrying Too Much Cash In Europe
Whilst foreign cash can be easy to spend and almost accepted everywhere. Carrying hundreds of Euros in your purse or wallet can leave you feeling vulnerable if your bag gets lost. Or even worse if your spending money gets stolen. As we mentioned previously, having multiple payment methods overseas can reduce this risk and ensure you always have some money at hand.
Exchanging your AUD into too many Euros could also see you coming back with more foreign cash than you’d hoped (which isn’t always a bad thing). Exchanging this back into Australian Dollars can cost money, which is also another benefit of having split payment methods when it comes to traveling across Europe.
About the Author:
Tom is a travel money expert from Adelaide, Australia. He is passionate about travel, experiencing different cultures and getting the most out of his holiday spending money. Tom has visited 26 different countries and his favorite destination is Mystery Island, Vanuatu.