Preparing travel finances

AS Aussie travellers gear up to escape the cold weather and head to Europe, the UK and US for holidays, Suncorp Bank is urging all jetsetters to consider how their hard earned savings will be made available to them overseas.

Suncorp Bank Executive Manager Craig Fenwick said while many people saved like crazy to prepare for their dream holiday, they often hadn't fully considered how they would access their money while away.

"There are several options available for travellers when it comes to accessing their cash while travelling," Mr Fenwick said.

"It's always wise to have a few options up your sleeve to ensure access to funds at all times, such as foreign currency, a cash passport and a Visa Debit or Credit card," he said.

"While the Aussie dollar is still strong, increased volatility in recent weeks has seen it dip below parity. So if you're worried about it falling any lower while you're away it's worth considering locking in your foreign exchange rate now.

"It's also really important to tell your bank when and where you plan to travel, as they will look out for any suspicious transactions on your cards.

"If you haven't alerted your bank as to your foreign travel plans, you may run the risk of having your card temporarily frozen should they notice any suspicious transactions.

"Cash Passports are a really handy and increasingly popular option offering a 24/7 international hotline on the back of the card, should something go wrong.

"Cash Passports can be preloaded with the funds you need and work at most overseas ATMs, allowing you to withdraw cash in the local currency.

"Having local currency can ultimately save you dollars, as markets and stalls can be a great place to haggle, with cash generally considered king at these types of bargaining outlets.

"Having a credit card as backup is a good idea but a cash passport is versatile enough to allow you to have access to your own cash as well as being able to be used at most ATMs and retailers around the globe."

Mr Fenwick recommends the following financial tips to help holiday-makers rest easy: Keep a few options on hand:

  • Having multiple ways to access your money on your trip reduces your risk of being stuck without cash.
  • Keep an eye on exchange rates - if you're worried about movements in the exchange rate, it could be a good idea to lock it in now.
  • Use your calculator - most smart phones have a foreign exchange calculators that will help you determine whether you're paying too much for something in Australian dollars.
  • Tell your bank -Let your bank know you are heading overseas, so that your bank won't cancel your cards due to unusual and suspicious transactions.
  • Chat to your phone provider - if you are planning to take your phone overseas give your provider a call so they can explain the charges you will pay when using your phone overseas. Many people get caught-out with astronomical bills for international roaming!

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