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Top tips for sorting out your travel money

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Here are three simple ways to simplify sorting out your holiday spends before the flight.

As demand for trips abroad jump by 200% in a single month, it is evident that families across the UK are chomping at the bit to find their place in the sun. But as always before every trip abroad, there’s the boring stuff to do first: booking holidays, re-arranging your workload, finding all the passports… and the travel money situation. Here are three simple ways to simplify sorting out your holiday spends before the flight.

Start with a budget
The easiest and most effective item on this list is budgeting. Though not the most glamourous use of an hour of your time, sitting down to draw up a spreadsheet of your projected holiday expenditure will help you threefold: it will prevent you accidentally eating into savings three days into your trip; it can help your structure your holiday in a more meaningful way; and it will help you discern just how much money to convert into local currency. Plug in the cost of your hotel and the average cost of eating out over your stay, and include contingencies for events and attractions throughout the week. Add a quarter of that value on again and you’ll have a good buffer for drinks, snacks and public transport.

Tell your bank you’re travelling
While easily forgotten, letting your bank know that you’ll be out of the country for a set period could be the difference between holiday harmony and disaster. If you try to use your bank card for an emergency ATM transaction abroad, and your bank doesn’t expect you to be there, they can lock that card out of your account – effectively stranding you from your money.

While telling your bank to expect potential foreign transactions, you can also use your time to automate any payments that might be due during your time away. You might be able to use a digital banking app to pay them, but you’re also more likely to forget in the middle of your seaside siesta session…

Choose your spending method abroad
Naturally, you ideally don’t want to be using your bank card abroad, as withdrawing cash can become very expensive very quickly. You’ll want to choose how you spend carefully – but retain your flexibility in an increasingly cashless world. It might be a good idea to use a pre-paid debit card for your holiday spends – not only to avoid certain fees, but also to keep yourself on-budget!

Take local currency as a contingency
Even if you intend to rely on a card for the majority of your trip, having some of your budget in the local currency could well get you out of a jam. Having already budgeted, you know what you’ll be spending – consider taking a fifth of this money as cash. If you encounter cash only market stalls or seaside attractions, you won’t be stuck with ATM fees in rustling up the cash to pay; cash also makes tipping easier, which could well get you preferential treatment in hotels and resorts.

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