The pound has fallen to its lowest level since January this year, which is a blow for everybody about to jet off on an early summer holiday.
It means worse rates when exchanging money into foreign currencies, and that translates into less spending money when you actually arrive at your destination. With this in mind, we’re sharing some of our favourite ideas for making your money go further while you’re away.
Live like a local
Don’t be tempted by the bright lights of the tourist traps: you’ll get better deals and a more authentic experience by heading to the small cafes, local shops and markets. It’s a great way to find proper local food and gifts for loved ones, as well as bargains. If you’re not sure where to go, consider picking up a Lonely Planet guidebook – these are renowned for giving great suggestions of local spots to visit, rather than just the traditional attractions.
Understand your call and card costs
There are two key things that might incur additional charges while you’re away: your credit card and your mobile phone. Luckily, deals in both these areas are a lot better now than they used to be – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get caught out.
For now, roaming charges only apply if you’re going on holiday outside of the EU. Your network should have provided information about these costs when you signed up, but if you’ve lost the details, there will be information on their website. If you can’t find anything, the customer service team should know. Discovered that your roaming charges are high? Try only using Wi-Fi while you’re away, or consider picking up a cheap local SIM.
Similarly, you’ll need to check out card fees for your bank before travelling, so that you can look into other options if the costs are high. This handy guide from Which? outlines how much you should expect to pay for using your debit card, depending on who you bank with. They also show you which accounts are best to use – for instance, Starling Bank has no fees on any transaction type, so you could consider opening an account before setting off.
The same is true for credit cards: many impose heavy fees for transactions made abroad, but there are some that waive those fees and make life a lot easier. Once again, Which? come to the rescue with a round-up of the best cards to use. Of course, the alternative is just to ensure that you have more than enough cash before you go.
Consider investing in travel insurance
Travel insurance is one of those areas where it makes sense to spend a little and potentially save a lot. It can protect you from losing money in a range of circumstances, including if your trip gets cancelled or if your luggage is lost or stolen. It can also cover the cost of emergency medical treatment, and can even help protect you if you’re sued for something that happens while you’re away – for instance, damage caused to property. Not all travel insurance covers everything, though, so make sure you double check what you’re getting before paying.