Top travel money tips to stop you getting ripped off on holidays


The summer holiday season has officially kicked off, with thousands of Irish passengers expected to be heading abroad in the coming days and weeks.

However, despite fears of Covid having subsided, tourists now have the added worry of the cost of living crisis as they try to find ways to cut corners and save money where they can.

Money Saving Expert (MSE) Martin Lewis has shared his top tips for travellers when it comes to travel money, so you don’t end up getting ripped off by exchange rates.

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According to the MSE’s website, using the wrong card abroad could really hit hard and urges people to be clever when paying for things on holiday.

Here are their top tips for travel money:

1. Spending the wrong way could cost you

Ultimately, when abroad, you want to pay for only what you buy, yet by doing it the wrong way, many also pay a charge on their payment, too.

To avoid doing this, apply for a specialist overseas card, then use it every time you go.

Below, we’ve got the full lowdown on travel credit cards , travel debit cards and prepaid cards – and cash , if that’s your preference.

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2. Always pay in the local currency

Many overseas hotels, shops and ATMs ask this when you pay by card.

If you choose your own currency, the retailer does the currency conversion – but rates can often be poor compared with letting your card do it.

If you’ve got a top overseas card, ALWAYS choose the local currency, as your card does the exchange, and it’s unbeatable.

If you’re using a bog-standard credit or debit card, it’s touch and go.

Sometimes the card machine will show you the ‘non-euro cash fee’. If this is under 2.5%, go with euro. If it’s over, pick the local currency.

3. Check your cards

Never just blindly spend abroad with ANY card – find out what it’d cost you to pay with your existing plastic before slipping it into your suitcase.

Best Travel Money options

Which type of travel money you should use depends on your preferences and circumstances. There are four main forms of payment that you should choose from before you go abroad:

4. Avoid changing money at the airport

Using an airport bureau is the easy option, but it’s such a waste. Airport and ferry port rates are usually dismal, as they know they’re the last port of call, and you’re a captive customer.

Far better that you use TravelMoneyMax before you go, or if you’ve left it too late, at least order in advance online to pick up at the airport to get better rates.

Don’t buy travel cash or load a prepaid card with a credit card

If you’re buying currency at a bureau de change or online through TravelMoneyMax , there’s a hidden charge you could fall foul of if using a credit card.

Buying currency is counted as a cash withdrawal, so you could face a myriad of fees, including cash withdrawal fees, interest, or even a fee for using a credit card charged by the money changer. Some card providers also treat loading a prepaid card using a credit card as a cash withdrawal.

So if you’re buying currency or loading a prepaid card, ALWAYS use a debit card, which isn’t allowed to charge this fee, or withdraw cash and pay with that instead.

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