Stress-Free Travel: Get your Finances in Order First
Whether you’re planning on a full-scale adventure that lasts for a month or three (or longer!), or you’re hoping to get away for a couple of weeks in the sun next year, sorting out your finances before you go is essential if you want to ensure a stress-free trip. While it’s often said that you should just enjoy your break and that the bills will still be there when you get home, the last thing you want to do is add to them by not being organised before you fly.
While many holidaymakers will have been saving for their trip so that they don’t have to put any unnecessary strain onto their bank balance, others will consider popping the cost of the holiday onto a credit card that they can pay off in instalments. This option is often incredibly tempting because it could mean a holiday sooner than if you had to save for it, but you have to remember that, unless you pay off your credit card in full each month, you’re going to be charged interest, meaning that you can end up paying much more for your break in the long run.
The other aspect that you need to consider before heading off on your holiday adventure is how to fund the trip once you’re there. Are you taking travellers cheques or heading to the currency exchange before you fly? Perhaps you’re planning to use your debit card for any purchases abroad?
While taking your debit card may be the most convenient way of accessing cash while you’re away (after all, most tourist hotspots have their fair share of ATM machines), some cards will charge you every time you use it, whether it’s in a shop, for an excursion or at the hole in the wall. Instead, consider a specialist credit card that is dedicated to foreign travel. You will have to check your credit report before applying, to make sure you have a good chance of qualifying. There are websites to check credit reports easily online (click here for a credit report) and, if you have a good credit history, a specialist credit card could be the way to go. These specialist cards don’t add a percentage onto exchange rates, so what you pay will be the same as what you’d get if you went to the bureaux de change, if not better. Be responsible though, and repay in full to avoid interest.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a good credit score, or your application for a credit card is declined, you could pick up one of the prepaid cards, which are loaded with cash in advance – a bit like an electronic travellers’ cheque.
If, however, you’re planning on taking cash, be sure to exchange your currency in advance online. While you may be tempted to do this on the day at the airport, while waiting for your flight, the exchange rates could be far less favourable. The XE currency converter will give you a good idea of what you should expect in return for your GBP and you can shop around online for the best rates.
Whether it’s shopping around for the best price on travel insurance or something as everyday as cancelling the milk delivery when you’re away, if you stay in control of your finances before (and throughout) your trip, you will be able to stay stress-free and enjoy your break without worry.