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Consumer Affairs
Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 16:52
Card tricks

Travelling enriches our lives in many ways. We are exposed to different cultures, new experiences, breath-taking sights, historic landmarks, and cuisine that is wonderfully foreign to our palates.

In fact, the only limiting thing about travelling is the cost.
Ian Barrable, Sales Director of American Express, says: “With the April holidays around the corner, many of us are looking forward to a break with friends and family. Expensive international flights and accommodation coupled with our weak Rand make it challenging to take that dream holiday – particularly to more expensive destinations such as London or New York.”
However, we should definitely not let the cost hold us back. “While it may sound clichéd, travelling is an experience that leaves us (figuratively!) richer, through broadening our understanding of the world around us…not to mention creating unforgettable memories.
The good news is that with a little planning and careful budgeting, you are well on your way. Barrable provides his top money tips to stretch your savings even further.


Calculate exactly how much money you will need for your trip, taking into account flights, accommodation, meals, flights, shopping and unexpected expenses. Then work out a conservative yet flexible daily budget – and make sure you stick to it. If you spend more than you planned on one day of your trip, simply spend less the next. “This way you won’t be caught at the end of your holiday with no money,” says Barrable.


“Too many tourists fall victim to theft, or lose their wallets while adventuring. A currency card loaded with your travel savings is a good idea, as it prevents someone else from using your funds yet allows you easy access to your money.” American Express offers a Global Travel Card that is able to be used in multiple destinations. A free replacement and emergency access to funds is available if it is misplaced, ensuring that you are never stuck without money far away from home.


Avoid converting currency at places notorious for their high fees and exchange rates, such as airports and hotels. It all adds up, so make sure you shop around beforehand for the best rates.


Beware of currency conversion fees if you are travelling to multiple destinations, as these can eat away at your funds. “Currency card providers generally charge between 3% - 6% when converting currencies between destinations, so make sure you have taken this into account,” says Barrable. Look out for special rates and deals, such as American Express’ Global Travel Card 0% Cross Currency Conversion fee promotion, on offer till January 2016. This means that if you have arranged to travel to the States and decide to visit Canada whilst there, for example, you will not be charged to convert the money loaded in US Dollars to Canadian Dollars.

And remember…

“While it is important to be sensible with your money and avoid debt, you will always be able to make more money – but a trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plan your finances wisely, and you will realise that travelling is the best investment you can make.”

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:28.4 1st April, 2015
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