9 Practical Tips for Making Your Holiday Money Go Further When Abroad

Pay in Cash

It is all well and good comparing prices and booking a cheap package deal before you leave for your holiday but the reality is that the most expensive part in most cases is once you have actually reached your destination. With a bit of healthy frugality, you can continue the money-saving effort abroad and make your money go further. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Inform your bank: Many banks will issue you with a hefty charge if you use your credit or debit card abroad without first informing them you intend to do so. There is also the risk of being cut off, as they may suspect the foreign usage means your card has been stolen. Let them know before you go to avoid any such problems.
  • Exchange your money beforehand: You should never wait to exchange your money at the airport once you arrive as they often have higher exchange rates because they know they are your last resort if you have yet to change your currency. The Bureaux de Change will also charge a ‘cash withdrawal fee’ for using a card to convert money, so take cash and use that instead to avoid the fee.
  • Pay in cash: Almost anywhere – especially in mainland Europe – is open to a bit of friendly haggling if you are paying in cash. From market stalls to retail outlets and even some restaurants; it is worth trying to barter to get a discount.
  • Carry your ID: Many places will recognise your student ID or European passport as suitable identification that may well entitle you to a discount. Many of the world’s top tourist attractions accept them and so it never hurts to carry them with you.
  • Pay in local currency: Many places now offer what is known as ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’ where they will charge your card using your own currency. If you are offered this, you should decline it and opt to use the local currency instead to make the most of the exchange rate, saving yourself some money in the process.
  • Carry enough cash: Many foreign ATMs will charge you to withdraw cash so it is best to have enough with you before you go or if you must make a withdrawal once abroad; take as much as you think you will need in one go so you do not have to pay multiple fees.
  • Have your EHIC on your person: Having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to the same treatment for the same price as local residents if you are ill or injured abroad. It is no use sitting in the hotel room, however; you must have it with you when you go to the hospital if you want the discounted price, so you should always have it with you just in case of an emergency.
  • Use hostels: Hostels are much cheaper than hotels and often do not need to be booked in advance, meaning you can simply use them as and when you need.

Ask the locals: Nobody knows the best bargains available and local money-saving tips better than the people who actually live there. Ask around for some friendly advice to ensure you get the best deals.


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