The best way for your money to?travel

2014-05-11 15:00

It’s time to exhale. You’re planning a holiday to somewhere like the idyllic island of ­Mauritius?–?but the truth is it’s easy to throw money away once you get there.

Have you thought about how to keep your budget down when you’re paying for something?

The exchange rate has dropped to a less favourable figure in the past two years, but you can still get 2.9?Mauritian rupees for every rand you spend.

Traveller’s cheques have been the main payment option when taking spending money out the ­country.

While they still have their place, especially if you are travelling in Africa, credit cards and travel wallets are becoming a more convenient option.

With a traveller’s cheque, you have to find an exchange bureau that won’t charge you to cash in the cheques and you might end up carrying more cash than you feel comfortable with.

Travel wallet

A travel wallet is a prepaid debit card that allows you to load your currency before you leave. You know the rate at which you purchased the currency and have the convenience of being able to pay at the merchant or draw cash from an ATM.

Our four major banks offer travel wallets across a range of currencies and most shops are willing to accept euros as payment.

Credit card

Credit cards can be used virtually anywhere and you can draw cash from ATMs. The downside is that you do not know the exact exchange rate on the day of your purchase so you might have a nasty surprise if the rand suddenly collapses.

Even if you do opt for a travel wallet, a credit card is still a good option as a backup, especially for ­emergencies. The travel card cannot always be used for low-value transaction points.

I have found that sometimes, merchants’ terminals could not read my bank card. I also found that certain merchants rejected my pin as invalid even though I typed it in correctly.

Cash

It is great to arrive in a foreign country and have some cash available to pay for taxis or to grab that first cup of coffee. The best option is to buy a small amount of foreign currency from your bank before you leave South Africa.

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