An overseas holiday can quickly end up being unnecessarily expensive if you fail to sort your currency before you jet off.
Many Australians take a mid-year break during the winter months, and organising currency is often the last thing on a traveller’s to-do list.
Those who don’t sort it out will likely end up throwing money away on unnecessary fees.
Before I recently headed off on an overseas trip I made sure my currency was sorted, because there’s no way I’m going to shell out money on fees I can easily avoid.
And, of course, I have to practice what I preach, right?
These are some of the things you should do before heading off.
1. Check your bank’s charges
Using your own debit and credit card can be expensive if you get hit with multiple fees including ATM fees and currency conversion fees.
Some ATM charges are $5 alone and currency conversion rates can be around 3-4 per cent.
Only a handful of banks have ditched these fees, including ING, which makes it easy if you can still use your existing card overseas without worrying every time you insert or tap your card.
2. Take some cash
I detest rolling into my first pit stop without having a small bundle of cash at my disposal.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is getting currency exchanged at any airport.
They prey on the disorganised traveller and as a result offer some of the worst conversion rates.
If you live in a major city check, what your nearest currency exchanges are offering, and I suggest getting some Aussie dollars converted before heading off.
Be mindful it can take a few days, sometimes more than a week, for the currency exchange to order in the amount of cash you require.
Be sure to order your money at least a couple of weeks before you depart. That way you can arrive at your destination without the stress of finding somewhere to convert cash and being stung by poor rates.
3. Organise your cards
If you don’t already have a card with no fees that you can use overseas, make sure you hunt down one that limits the charges you are stung with.
There are plenty of prepaid travel cards, debit cards and credit cards available that have minimal charges.
Visit financial comparison websites such as RateCity, Mozo, Finder and Canstar and see what competitive offers are available.
It can sometimes take one or two weeks for a bank card to arrive in the mail, so allow for this to ensure you have it before you leave.
4. Tell your banks
Whatever you do, make sure you notify your bank that you’ll be away before you leave.
The last thing you want is to be overseas and have your card cancelled because your bank didn’t know you were away and they suspected there was suspicious activity on your account.
Most importantly: Happy holidays!