With so many ways to spend on holiday, choosing the cheapest or most convenient method to pay can be quite confusing. Whether holidaymakers decide to use travel cash or payment cards, there are several things they can do to ensure they’re getting the most out of their spending money. Here is Switcher.ie’s tips to make holiday money travel further:
1. Pay in local currency
Hotels, shops and cash machines may give you the option to pay in local currency or euros when you pay by card. Whether you’re using a debit or credit card, choose to pay in local currency. If you choose euros, the retailer converts the currency, so rates may be worse than your card issuers. If you’ve got a specialist overseas card, always choose the local currency and you’ll pay next to nothing in fees.
2. Get a prepaid or specialist travel card
With contactless options now more widespread, people are ditching cash and tapping to pay more than ever. It’s simple and safe, plus mobile banking apps make it easy to keep track of your holiday spending. Prepaid cards like the An Post Currency Card can help you stick to a budget. Alternatively, digital accounts like N26, Revolut and Wise offer low or no fee foreign transactions and competitive exchange rates.
3. Order foreign currency in advance
If you’re spending abroad with foreign cash, you’ll get the best deal if you order currency online. Changing cash at the airport should be your last resort, so shop around online and compare costs to get the cheapest rates. Some exchanges offer free delivery, but factor in delivery charges or pick up in person. Often, the more currency you order, the better the rate, so consider pitching in together if you’re holidaying with friends.
4. Use online tools and consider locking in rates
Most online sites offer tools that allow you to see how much currency you’ll get in return for your euro. Watch out for extra charges, and know that 0% commission doesn’t necessarily mean a good deal, because the exchange rate may be poorer. You can reduce costs further by changing your money or locking in a rate when the euro is strongest, even if it’s months ahead of your trip.
5. Avoid ATM cash withdrawals
Steer clear of using cash machines on holiday or you may find transaction fees and ATM charges piling up. Pay with your card where possible, especially if you have a prepaid currency card or travel credit card. If you’re using cash on your trip, plan ahead and work out a daily spend so you don’t find yourself short, or return home with unspent currency.
Eoin Clarke at Switcher.ie comments: “With so many options, navigating the maze of holiday spending can be tricky, but thanks to mobile banking, holidaymakers can now track their spending and quickly spot costly payments with instant access and real-time transactions. Cash or card is often a tourist’s dilemma and there are pros and cons for both. Ultimately it depends on preference, but regular travellers should consider a low fee payment card designed for spending abroad, and sunseekers who prefer to splash the cash should set a budget and order currency online for the best rates.”