Travel Guides

Home > Travel Guides

The Top 3 Mistakes For Vacations Abroad

Let's imagine you have booked your holiday, packed your suitcase, made sure your passport is up to date and are now thoroughly excited about going on vacation. It is such a great feeling knowing that you will soon be off on a wonderful break. Now all you have to do is decide how much money to take with you and how to make payments abroad. And it’s here that so many get things wrong. Let's have a look at the three most common mistakes by people traveling abroad:

Mistake #1: Taking traveller's cheques

In terms of safety, nothing beats traveller's cheques. They used to be the safest payment tool abroad and still are, but this advantage hardly compensates for a major disadvantage: They are considered by most merchants as a thing of the past and are no longer widely accepted. This means that you will have to carry at least a credit card or debit card to back up the cheques in case you can't use them. Traveller's cheques are also inconvenient should you require cash instantly at a time when banks are closed. In short: Relying on traveller's cheques on your vacation is a mistake.

Mistake #2: Taking cash

In terms of immediacy, nothing beats cash. Paying for a coffee, an ice cream or an extra bottle of sun lotion is a matter of seconds and gives you a visceral emotional sensation compared to the somewhat sterile feeling of paying with plastic. On the other hand, there is a serious problem with cash as well: It is extremely unsafe, as it can easily be stolen. This means you should never carry too much around with you and may not have enough on you at some point. This makes it necessary to budget and plan ahead when using cash – which are precisely the kinds of things you would not want to do on your vacation. In short: Relying on cash on your vacation is a mistake.

Mistake #3: Taking debt- and credit-cards

In terms of convenience, nothing beats debit- and credit-cards. From small amounts to major purchases, they provide you with instant spending power and allow you to indulge in the little luxuries that make a vacation special. Unfortunately, this comes at a price: Withdrawing money from an ATM abroad with a debit card can incur significant fees. Neither are debit cards as widely accepted as credit cards. A credit card, on the other hand, means you're paying interest on all your purchases. And don't ever use a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, unless you want to get yourself knee-deep into debt. All of this means you may end up paying more than you intended and may have to budget and plan ahead – which, as we mentioned, can lead to disappointment. In short: Relying on debt- and credit-cards on your vacation is a mistake.

#1 Solution: A travel card

Primarily, you can save money if you use a travel card for your foreign exchange rather than a debit or credit card. This is because you won't be charged as much for drawing out money whilst abroad or even making a balance enquiry. You won't be charged the standard foreign exchange fee when making a purchase with your card either. Furthermore, you will be offered the very best foreign exchange rate so you will know that you have saved money from the start. If you use traditional foreign exchange bureaus to take cash with you, then you may find that you get a poor exchange rate especially if you change your money at the airport. There are often hidden fees and because the foreign exchange rate varies so much from place to place you have to waste your precious time researching where to go and what they charge. You also have to take into consideration what other fees there may be.

Another benefit of using a travel card over other foreign exchange methods is that a travel card is very safe. This can give you peace of mind whilst away which can only make your vacation even more pleasurable. It is safe because not only does it have a chip and PIN to offer you maximum security. It also gives you the reassurance that should you have your card stolen or you lose it then you will be able to get a replacement which will have all your money still on it. The travel card company will even send it directly to your holiday destination.

Last but not least, a travel card is very convenient too. You can use it wherever you see the Visa or MasterCard sign all over the world. It avoids having to change your money at a bank as with travellers’ cheques or having to make sure the restaurant or shop accepts travellers’ cheques before making your purchase. You simply use the card in place of money.

When comparing a travel card to other foreign exchange methods you can see that it has many advantages. By using it, you can save time, money and worries – and leave the mistakes to others.

This article was written in association with, a leader in the field of currency cards and prepaid technologies. Gavin Whittaker is a finance journalist by calling. In his work, he highlights consumer topics such as holiday budgeting with a travel card, credit card debt and online commerce. The image was taken by Crystal Leigh Shearin and is licensed under Creative Commons from Stock.XCHNG.

More to Read: