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Are you ready for the bank holiday bonanza?

Are you ready for the bank holiday bonanza?

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 22/09/2011
First Published: 21/04/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

It seems like only yesterday that the kids were unwrapping their Christmas presents, yet Easter is already upon us. The Royal Wedding means this year we are getting a double dose of bank holiday relief, which for many families means a trip abroad to recharge the batteries.

Spain is still the UK's favourite foreign holiday destination, with the Canary Islands and the Costa del Sol the most popular areas, according to recent research.

Where ever people are jetting off to, a foreign trip is almost always an expensive excursion. However, there are a number of ways in which you could get the cost of your holidays down and make life much easier for yourself too.

Travel Money

  • There are loads of different places you can convert your cash into the local currency of the country you are visiting, all likely to offer different rates and charge differing amounts of commission.
  • Exchanging your currency 'commission-free' might intuitively seem like the best option, but it is important to consider carefully the rate on offer.
  • Often it will not be the most competitive rate you can get, so it is vital that you shop around to check out all the rates available.
  • Getting your currency in the airport is unlikely to be the best way to go about matters either. Besides from offering a more limited choice, the exchange rate is unlikely to be that great.
  • The golden rule is to exchange your currency before you get to the terminal and make sure you do your research.
  • Currency exchange websites are the ideal place to start, with even some of the older and more trusted names such as the Post Office now offering money exchange facilities online.

Travellers Cheques

  • If security abroad is a top priority for you, then travellers cheques might be a better option than carrying loads of cash.
  • If they are lost or stolen, you will quickly be able to reclaim your money in full, and all without having to claim on your travel insurance.
  • As with cash, however, shopping around for travellers cheques is a good idea.
  • Some places only offer traveller's cheques in certain currencies, while there might also be a fee for changing them.
  • Again, don't automatically assume that the commission-free deal is the best one out there.

Credit Cards

  • Credit cards might seem like one of the most convenient ways to pay your way when abroad, but it is vital to remember that most credit cards charge a foreign usage fee.
  • This is typically around 2.75% of the amount you spend but could be higher still.
  • If a credit card is the way forward for you, then applying for one which specialises in the travel market is essential.
  • These will usually charge a lower foreign usage fee and, in some instances, have no fee at all.
  • If you're intending to pay off your holiday credit card spending over a number of months, a card with 0% on purchases for an introductory period is probably the one for you.
  • Tesco Bank's Clubcard Credit Card MasterCard currently offers 0% on all purchases for 13 months from the account opening, one of the longest terms available.
  • However, Nationwide's Credit Card Visa, which offers unlimited commission free purchases abroad until 31 July 2011 and the option of 0% on purchases for six months, might also be worthy of consideration.
  • If you haven't yet booked a flight, customers who are accepted for the Post Office's Platinum MasterCard, which offers 0% on purchases for three months, are also being offered a return flight to selected European capital cities (applications must be made online and accepted by 15 May 2011).
  • The most important thing to remember with credit cards is not to withdraw cash with them when abroad.
  • As well as possibly having to pay a foreign usage fee, you will also be charged a further fee for withdrawing the cash.

Travel Insurance

  • Besides all these steps that you can take to make your trip abroad a little cheaper, probably the single most important thing to arrange before jetting off is travel insurance.
  • Using a broker such as BeatthatQuote is the easiest way to shop around for travel insurance and secure the best deal for you.
  • Not only does travel insurance provide you with medical cover when overseas, it can also protect you from a whole host of other accidents and misfortunes that might just happen.
  • It can cover the cost of transporting you back to the UK if you are ill, and protect you in the event that you have to cancel your holiday due to accident or sickness.
  • It can also cover you for the loss of possessions or in the event of theft, as well as offering protection against any legal action taken if you injure another person or cause any damage to another person's property when away.

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.