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The credit card fees cracking your Easter holiday budget

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Written by: Alastair Douglas
18/04/2019
Going abroad for your Easter holidays? Then you might want to think twice about which credit card you pack

Everywhere accepts cards these days. And when you’re abroad knowing you can pay for things with a credit card makes life so much easier.

But this ease-of-use may come at a cost — one that risks your credit card becoming an expensive holiday cost in its own right. If you’re not careful, making purchases on your plastic could result in thousands of pounds in fees.

The credit card fees bumping up your holiday costs

Overseas credit card charges can eat into your holiday budget and are a nasty surprise on your next statement. According to research by financial advice site Moneycomms.co.uk, hidden credit card charges could add a staggering £1,200 to your holiday. For that amount you could book another break.

It turns out the few pounds charged on overseas purchases and ATM withdrawals start adding up. And before you know it, you’ve sacrificed hundreds in credit card fees. Your holiday budget should be spent on fun activities you want to do. It shouldn’t be gobbled up by fees. Nor should you dread the arrival of your next statement just because you used your card.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid being caught in a fee-trap.

Money tips when travelling abroad

With a bit of careful planning before and during your trip, you’ll have more money for the things you want to enjoy and experience during your Easter break.

Try these travel money tips and test what difference they make to your holiday budget.

Be card smart

Get a credit card or prepaid currency card with low — or no — fees when spending abroad. Keep this card strictly for your overseas trips.

Choose to pay in the local currency

Paying for goods or withdrawing ATM cash in GBP rather than the local currency is expensive. When given the option on a card or ATM machine to pay in pounds or the local currency, always pick local. You’ll get a better exchange rate.
Exchange money before you reach the airport

Buying currency in the airport is expensive. Some airport bureau de change services charge an extra £10 for every £100 you spend. Only use this service in an emergency. If possible, hold on until you reach a money exchange service beyond the airport limits.

Plan ahead: order currency online

Online exchange services usually have better rates and they’ll deliver your currency to your door. Some services charge a small fee, although this is only added if ordering below the minimum sum. A minimum sum is around £500–£750.

Extra tip: Supermarkets tend to have competitive currency exchange rates, so have a look at their online bureau.

Book your travel insurance early

Once you’ve locked in your holiday, sort out your travel insurance. It’s the less-glam bit of travel, but without it you risk losing thousands of pounds if you have to cancel your trip.

‘Fee free’ currency deals: too good to be true

‘Commission free’ or ‘fee free’ deals sound great. But they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. While the service may not charge a fee to change your money, they make up their losses by offering a poor exchange rate. You can find better.

Drive down your car hire costs

Make a cruisy saving on your holiday car hire by booking early — especially if travelling during busy times. Rates that were £18 per day when they had lots of cars available could shoot up to £30 a day as more cars are booked out.

Back yourself up

Make a note of emergency numbers for your credit card company and take a photocopy of your passport. Should anything get lost or stolen you’ll have the essential details you need to try and fix the situation.

Find a card that likes to jet set

Some credit cards travel better than others. Start your search by seeing what’s on offer in our travel credit cards.

Alastair Douglas is CEO of TotallyMoney

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