Top tips for keeping on top of your finances overseas

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

Going on holiday is expensive enough as it is, but unexpected costs can really stack up and take a sizeable bite out of your savings. Here’s how to dodge surprise costs and get travel money-savvy.

Inform your bank of your travel plans

If you forget to tell your bank you are going abroad and use your card whilst overseas, your card may well be blocked without warning, leaving you in a bit of a pickle.

To avoid such difficulties, ensure your bank has a number they can contact you on 24 hours a day before you jet off (and vice versa) to facilitate contact in the event of your card being stopped.

This way, the bank can release the block as soon as possible and you can get on with your holiday. You are entitled to ask your bank for a refund if you end up paying for expensive phone bills or taxi fares when reactivating your card.

Don’t let shops convert currency

Some cash machines, shops and restaurants in European countries will offer to convert your euro bill into sterling. Since you will be given a very poor exchange rate, it is best to refuse the offer.

It is worthwhile being aware of the most money-savvy ways to convert your currency before even leaving the UK.

Converting sterling into foreign currency is generally more expensive at the airport, on the grounds of poor exchange rates and steep commission charges.

To get the best deals on your travel money, leave enough time before you leave to shop around and find the cheapest rates.

Credit cards

Foreign currency charges imposed when using your card overseas can make holiday costs rack up alarmingly quickly.

Withdrawal fees, transaction fees and interest are the three main foreign currency charges to look out for – although they can be avoided.

There are a number of cards which don’t carry any foreign exchange loading fees, so it is worth comparing the market well in advance of your holiday to take advantage.


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