With summer around the corner, now’s the time to start gearing up to make it your best ever. Whether it’s for a short break in the UK or the trip of a lifetime (lucky you), you’ve earned it.
But before you throw the suntan lotion into a bag and head for the beach, check out our top tips for making your money go further while you’re away.
1. Firm up your plans early
Even with a no-frills trip, the little extras can pile up. Planning ahead is your secret weapon, and the further ahead you do it, the more time you have to shop around for deals. A budget will help you work out exactly how much you’ll need for travel, accommodation, meals and any activities, as well as giving the chance to get geared up to make the most of your trip. Planning on treating yourself? If you’ve budgeted for it already, there’s no need to feel guilty.
Once you’ve worked out how much you’ll need, the best way to save is to put a little aside, and often. With payroll deduction, you can even arrange to have a regular amount transferred straight from your salary into your savings account.
2. If you borrow, be smart about it
Sometimes it makes sense to borrow the money you need now, and to then pay back the cost over time. Be smart about how you do it though, as overdrafts and credit card fees can rack up. Keep an eye on the APR and any extra charges. Taking out a loan can seem like a big step, compared to the convenience of a credit card or overdraft, but it’s usually a far cheaper way to to do it. Our loans start at 4.5% APR, which is far cheaper than most banks or high-street lenders.
3. Make sure it’s all legit
We all know to watch out for bags and valuables when travelling, but sometimes, you’re most at risk before you’ve even left home. When you book, always check the reviews, and try to stick to operators who are ABTA and ATOL protected. This will ensure your money is safe, even if the operator goes out of business.
Finally, beware of ‘phishing’ and other scams based on fake emails and websites. Remember – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Reputable firms will never ask for your sensitive personal information via email.
4. Get a good deal on your holiday money
Don’t be fooled by the ‘no commission’ signs. Converting your cash into Euros, dollars or dinars can be seriously expensive. Costs are often hidden in the exchange rate, which can vary by as much as 5p in the pound. Or, to put it another way, you could be losing out on up to £5 in every £100 you exchange!
Always shop around for the best rate, which is often found on the high street or by ordering currency in advance. And whatever you do, don’t leave it until the airport!
5. Be plastic fantastic
Putting things on card can be a handy way of avoiding the headaches of converting and carrying cash. But it’s worth getting clued up on the T&Cs of your credit or debit card provider first. Most will charge extra fees for overseas usage and cash withdrawals, so it’s good to know where you stand.
With a London Mutual Current Account, our overseas usage fees are straightforward. You’ll pay 2.99% when you pay by card abroad. For cash, you’ll pay £1.35 to withdraw within Europe, and £.195 anywhere else.