It’s nice to be able to splurge when travelling overseas but that doesn’t mean you should waste good money by committing travel money mistakes that bring zero value!
We get it. Booking your holiday and planning your travel itinerary are fun. Setting budgets, changing money, and buying insurance? Not so much. Well, the good news is, most of these common money mistakes are so easy to avoid, there’s really no excuse.
Common travel money mistakes you should avoid for the good of your wallet
1. Changing money at the airport
The exchange rate at airports rarely beat or even match the rates you get elsewhere. Depending on how much money you are changing, we are talking about tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars!
Head to the best places to exchange money in Singapore, such as Arcade at Raffles Place, People’s Park Complex at Chinatown, and Mustafa Centre for generally better rates.
2. Changing too much cash and converting it back
Changing too much cash of a currency that you would not likely use again means you have to convert it back to Singapore dollars. By converting your money two times, you are paying more for the conversions.
If you have excess currency for a country you know you would visit again, it’s better to keep it for use the next time.
Read more about money changer tips and why you don’t have to be a Math genius to read, compute, and compare rates.
3. Paying for overseas spends in SGD
When you are paying for something overseas, most of the time you would be asked to choose whether you would like to pay in SGD or their local currency. The answer to that is – always pay in the local currency of the country you are in.
If you let the merchant convert the amount to SGD for you, you would get an instant conversion but it includes markup on the currency exchange rate, sometimes going as high as 5% or more. Your credit card issuer will still charge the admin fees (around 1%) on the foreign transaction in addition to the markup that you paid to the merchant.
4. Withdrawing cash at overseas ATM
Withdrawing cash at overseas ATMs would incur conversion and withdrawal fees. Make sure to research on how much you would need for the trip and add a little buffer. If you exceed your budget, pay with your credit card instead.
5. Using the wrong credit cards
Before making the trip, be sure to activate your credit cards for overseas use. Also, choose cards that give you attractive rewards for overseas spends and travel privileges, such as complimentary access to VIP airport lounges and travel insurance.
Foreign Currency Transactions: What Are the Fees and Which Are the Best Credit Cards to Use?
6. Skipping travel insurance
Travel insurance is very important as travel delays, luggage delays, and loss of belongings are so common. Protect your money and yourself by choosing a good travel insurance. If you are going to engage in adventurous sports, make sure your insurance covers that.
Also, be sure to send a loved one that isn’t travelling your travel insurance details so they would know where to turn to, if necessary.
7. Going default with data roaming
You would be surprised that many Singaporeans travel overseas using their telco’s pay-as-you-roam service. Before they know it, they are incurring significant costs for a few phone calls and data. Do some research; a prepaid SIM card bought in Singapore or at your destination is usually the cheapest option. You can also consider a Wifi router.