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Tips for Spending Money Abroad: Save on Fees and Maximise Value

When travelling abroad, it's important to manage your finances wisely and find ways to minimise unnecessary expenses. Whether you are planning an overseas trip or going on a short holiday, here are some tips to help you spend money abroad efficiently and save on fees.

1. Choose the Right Travel Credit Card

Look for a credit card that offers competitive exchange rates and low or no foreign transaction fees. These cards are designed specifically for travellers and can help you save money when making card payments abroad. Look for cards with the Mastercard or Visa logo, which are widely accepted worldwide.

2. Consider a Debit Card with No Fees

Another option is to use a debit card like Monzo, which often doesn't charge foreign transaction fees or cash withdrawal fees up to a certain limit. These cards allow you to spend money abroad without incurring additional charges, making them a convenient choice for travellers.

3. Use a Prepaid Card

Prepaid cards allow you to load money onto the card in your home currency and use it abroad. They offer competitive exchange rates and can be a secure alternative to carrying cash. Look for cards that don't charge application fees or separate fees for loading money.

4. Limit Cash Withdrawals

While it's always good to carry some cash for emergencies, withdrawing cash frequently can result in high fees. If you need to withdraw cash, always choose a reputable cash machine that offers fair exchange rates and avoid cash machines that charge additional fees, like a cash withdrawal fee.

5. Beware of Dynamic Currency Conversion

When using your credit or debit card abroad, be cautious of dynamic currency conversion. Some merchants may offer to convert your bill into your home currency, but this often comes with poor exchange rates and additional fees. Opt to pay in the local currency when you spend abroad instead to avoid unnecessary charges.

6. Take Advantage of Online Banking

Keep track of your spending and manage your finances on the go by utilising online banking services. This way, you can monitor your transactions, check your balances and even transfer funds if needed. It's a convenient way to stay in control of your money while travelling.

7. Plan Ahead and Budget your foreign currency

Before your trip, research the expected costs at your destination and create a budget. This will help you estimate how much money you'll need and allocate your funds accordingly. You can avoid overspending by planning ahead and make your money last throughout your trip.

8. Understand Foreign Transaction Fees

Some banks and card issuers may ask you to pay foreign transaction fees when using your credit card abroad, which can range from 1% to 3% of each transaction. Familiarise yourself with the fees associated with your credit or debit cards, and consider switching to a card that offers no or low foreign transaction fees when making payments abroad.

9. Be Mindful of Non-Sterling Transaction Fees

When using your card abroad, watch out for non-sterling transaction fees, especially if you are from the UK. These fees are charged for transactions made in a foreign currency and can significantly add to your holiday expenses. Look for cards that don't impose such fees to avoid unnecessary charges.

10. Use Your Card Wisely

When paying with a credit or debit card, choose to pay in the local currency rather than your home currency. This ensures that you receive a fair exchange rate set by your card provider rather than potentially poor rates offered by merchants.

By following these tips, you can make your money go further while travelling abroad. Remember to choose the right travel credit or debit card, limit cash withdrawals, budget wisely and be aware of any potential fees. With careful planning and smart financial decisions, you can enjoy your trip without overspending and save money along the way.

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