Travel dollar tips from Australia Post
BEFORE you head off overseas for a winter trip, Australia Post has some valuable tips for managing your travel dollars.
To start, have you worked out the following -
- What's your daily budget?
- How much cash will you need?
- What transaction fees will you pay each time you use your credit card?
- And what's the back-up plan if something goes wrong?
Cash or no Cash?
Cash is still good to carry with you for small purchases such as meals and tickets.
"Cash is still important when travelling, especially for small purchases like a simple breakfast or lunch, taxis, tips and shopping at local markets," Mr Cahill said.
"Again, it's just a matter of thinking about how you will be spending your time and planning before you leave."
Australia Post now offers more than 60 currencies, with highly competitive rates and zero commission if a currency is ordered online at auspost.com.au/ foreign-cash.
You can also order selected currencies at more than 3,200 Post Offices around the country.
Whether you need Moroccan dirham, Malaysian ringgit or Czech koruna, getting cash through Australia Post's currency exchange services means you avoid paying commissions and you reduce the number of fee-laden cash withdrawals you may make with a regular credit card.
Cash tips from Australia Post:
- Keep your money safe by using a secure travel wallet or a money belt.
- Hide various amounts of cash in different places and always use a hotel room safe when it is available to store all valuables, including extra cash.
- Never pull out a large amount of cash in front of other people at a restaurant or in a shop.
- Organise your cash before heading out for the day, and take only what you need for that day's activities.
Pre-paid travel cards provide the convenience of cash but with greater security.
"A travel card is an invaluable tool in managing how much money you spend while travelling," Mr Cahill said.
"Because you load a fixed amount onto the card before departure, you've minimised the temptation to overspend.
"It also locks exchange rates, eliminating nasty surprises if there are sudden fluctuations between currencies."
Australia Post now offers three options in travel cards:
- Load&Go Travel Card (Visa) with five currencies on one card (AUD, NZD, USD, EUR and GBP). The card is free to purchase and free to reload and it gives you the flexibility to move funds between the five different currencies while travelling.
- Multi-currency Cash Passport (MasterCard) with 10 currencies on one card (AUD, NZD, USD, EUR, GBP, THB, SGD, HKD, JPY, CAD). No fees are charged on purchases or withdrawals from ATMs that accept MasterCard and also zero commission for buying the card and loading/reloading cash in a foreign currency (commissions applies if you load AUD). There is also 24/7 global emergency assistance if the card is lost or stolen. Note: fees may be imposed by the local ATM operator or merchants independently.
- The popular Load&Go China Card (UnionPay). This is a reloadable prepaid travel card that enjoys wide acceptance across China, including regional China, and access to cash at any ATMs that accept UnionPay. A dual currency card offering Chinese Yuan (CNY) and Australian Dollars (AUD), currency value can be locked in before travel begins and, for extra security, cards can be registered and set up with a PIN.
An important security feature of prepaid travel cards is that they are not linked to a bank account, so in the event of fraud or theft, potential losses are limited. It is also easy to monitor money left on the card and to transfer funds online for a reload.
If a card is used to withdraw money from an ATM, Mr Cahill suggests some simple and common-sense security precautions -
- Be sure to choose the ATM carefully making sure it is in a well-lit area, and preferably part of a busy and mainstream bank, where there will be security measures in place,
- Always avoid using an ATM at night, and
- Be sure to keep all transaction receipts.
Overall, do as much research and thinking about how you will manage your money while you're travelling, just as you would for planning your accommodation and daily activities.
"The right combination of cash and travel cards, combined with some simple precautions, ensure peace of mind while travelling and that in itself helps make a great holiday," Mr Cahill said.
Start exploring Australia Post's Travel Essentials products at www.auspost.com.au/travel.