Smart Ways to Manage Money When You Travel
There are plenty of ways to pay for your travel online – from bank transfers and debit and credit cards to third-party payment services like Poli, Bpay and some Buy now, pay later services which allow you to purchase a product immediately and then pay it off in instalments over several months.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe when you pay for your travel deal online or you buy stuff while traveling.
Depending on your choice of the payment method, you can get extra benefits such as reward points, complimentary insurance, interest-free period etc. However, some merchants can charge additional fees for processing credit card payments. These fees can add up to a significant amount, especially for larger purchases.
Security, purchase protection, extra financial benefits and fees should all be considered as important factors in any online payments.
Using a credit card can be the most expensive and most rewarding way to pay because of high fees and complimentary entitlements. However, many vendors happily absorb the transaction fees.
As of September 1, 2017, all Australian businesses were banned from slugging customers with excessive surcharges for using credit cards to pay for purchases. The ban means businesses will only be able to charge customers what it actually costs them to process payments for MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards, including bank fees and terminal costs.
Paying with a credit card can also offer you an extra level of protection, including the right to a 'charge back' if you fall victim to fraud. A charge-back means your bank reverses a disputed transaction in accordance with card scheme rules set by Visa, MasterCard or American Express and the paid money is credited back onto your credit card account.
If your credit card is linked to your PayPal account, you may be entitled to another layer of protection. This may also allow you to pay by a card (eg. Amex) which is not directly accepted by the online travel agency. Instead of giving your credit card number or bank account information to every website you shop with, you can keep that information in PayPal.
Credit card charge-back can also potentially save your hard-earned money if your travel agent goes bust. Note that most travel insurance policies don't cover insolvency of the travel agency/agent.
Unlike standalone travel insurance, credit card insurance is usually generic (not location-specific) and allow you the flexibility of traveling to most places in the world (check the eligibility/insurance activation section and terms from your card issuer).
Although they usually have zero fees, payment methods without charge-back rights such as cash, bank transfers and Poli payments should generally be avoided if an alternative low-cost payment option is available.
However, when you are overseas, most credit and debit cards will charge a higher foreign currency conversion rate when you make a payment. If your travel requires a lot of foreign currency, you would be better off by taking out a Travel Money Card - a prepaid card that you load foreign currency onto so it can be used overseas to withdraw cash at an ATM, in store, online or over the phone. You can usually load multiple currencies as well. Beware that the exchange rate offered by these travel money cards can sometimes be much worse than what you'd be charged using your regular credit/debit card.
Travel Agent vs Do It Yourself
If you're going to use a travel agent, don't pop in without having done some prior research. Even if you do, don’t buy on your first visit. Take time to think.
If you rather prefer booking online, some research is not going to be enough. You need to start your bargain hunt at least 3-4 months in advance if you are very picky and on budget.
Here we have a quick look at pros and cons of both options.Read more
The Best Time to Book Your Flight
It is usually cheaper if you can book your flight at least 6-7 weeks and your hotel 3-6 weeks in advance. Travelling on Friday and Saturday is generally more expensive. Also, days around school holidays, long weekends and public holidays are not meant for savvy travellers.
Do your search off-peak times of the day such as after midnight and early in the morning to make sure you see the all actual available options that are released after the temporary hold.Read more
Set Travel Priorities & Expectations
Set your top priorities and expectation well in advance.
What are you after? What matters most for you? Are you flexible with travel dates? are you flexible with the destination? Would rather go somewhere else if cheaper?
Traveling. We have expectations of what it will be like, who it will be with and how much fun we're going to have.Read more
Compare Travel Deals and PackagesWeigh off all your options before buying. We have sifted through Australia’s top travel agencies and sites to shortlist the best ones. Whether you're looking for an adventure trip, family holiday or a weekend getaway, you can now search all these sites in one place. Once you find what you are after, you book directly with them. No fees or charges added on. We are 100% free! We are continuously extending the range of travel deals from trusted agencies to help everyday Australians shop around. Or Read more
Travel Deals – Are Extras Worth It?
Take anything that's for free. Give any other paid extras the flick.
Unless you're confident of receiving more in benefits than you're paying in advance, you should not consider buying extras.
Travel booking sites simply cannot offer you airport transfers, taxi, additional accommodation, other add-ons, drinks etc. cheaper. Simple math. Also, why would they?Read more
Such stuff are not promoted and are generally not competitively priced.