This post is sponsored by Local Financial Advice in the UK and is written by Ryan Smith. This post is specifically targeted to readers located in the UK, but provides advice that any traveler may find helpful!
Low-priced airline Ryanair made an error of judgement recently… when they forgot to load up a return flight from Murcia, in Spain back to London without any toilet paper rolls for their passengers!
The almost 3-hour flight also didn’t stock any milk for teas and coffees, a problem that the airline blamed on their handlers in Murcia for failing to provide stock of toilet paper rolls and milk.
While it’s never much fun forgetting the essentials when you go on holiday, some things are a lot more financially problematic for you to forget; things that you won’t just be able to run out to the local Spanish Market for.
These things aren’t the type of problems that will leave you on a long-distance call to your financial adviser about, but ensuring you follow these steps will mean you’re a little more economically protected when you’re sunning yourself this summer.
This is the big one; the one you need above all others when you’re taking a trip.
For many though, it’s often in the back of their minds when it comes to booking a holiday, after arbitrary things such as stocking up on sun cream and working out which days the local market is open.
But you need to think about what might happen if you required medical attention on holiday, or your bags got lost by the airline, or if personal issues such as a redundancy or family illness requires you to cancel your holiday before you even set off to the airport. Without travel insurance, you have no protection against any of these elements.
You also need to ensure that you’re covered for a significant amount, as medical bills can run into the tens of thousands of pounds. So while price comparison sites will find you the cheapest, you need to look beyond the cost and check out each policy.
As a general rule you should cover around £2million of medical expenses, £1million for personal liability, £3,000 for cancellation, £1,500 for baggage and £250 for cash.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you declare it as it could leave your insurance void if you don’t.
You’ll undoubtedly need cash when you go abroad; but there are still certain ways to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
First of all, don’t wait until you get to the airport to visit the bureau de change. Just like how they know you’re a captive audience and can charge you 3 times the standard price for a bacon butty and a cappuccino, they do the same with their travel money rates.
If you absolutely must pick up your travel money at the airport for whatever reason, make sure you order it for collection beforehand; you can usually do this up to 4 hours before you arrive.
It’s worth doing some research beforehand about where the best deal can be found. There are sites such as Money Saving Expert’s TravelMoneyMax.com which will find you the best rate, and you can arrange collection or delivery from them.
If you’re buying in person from a local bureau de change then try to avoid using credit cards, as they can result in some nasty charges.
And if you do have a lot of cash on you, make sure you take full advantage of the in-room safe in your hotel; and only take out what you need.
Pre-Paid Credit Cards
While many know that credit cards can carry some hefty fees if spending abroad (as well as accruing interest if not paid off in full), debit cards can actually be more costly to use on holiday – some adding up to £1.50 in fees with every spend.
If you don’t want to just rely on cash, for fear of losing it, it’s worth looking into a pre-paid credit card. There are numerous travel specific ones out there, with not fees for using them around the world.
If you’re nervous about debt, or don’t own a credit card due to credit checks, because they’re pre-paid they can be loaded up with your own credit beforehand, allowing you to only spend what you have. If you have internet access you’ll probably be able to transfer additional funds from your bank onto your pre-paid card if you need it.
It’s also worth knowing that some retailers will ask if you want to pay in pounds or local currency when using a card; it’s nearly always more financially beneficial to pay in the local currency, due to bank’s exchange rates.
As with all aspects of life, it’s always worth ensuring you’re financially secure when you go on holiday. Let’s just hope the airline remembers to load up their loo roll before take-off!
Ryan Smith is part of the content development team at Local Financial Advice, connecting people with independent financial advisers in their area, to help them achieve their financial goals.
CC header image from Flickr: London by Ralph.