Travellers, stop wasting your money

Travellers are wasting money on avoidable expenses

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HIDDEN COST: How you convert currency can eat into your holiday budget while travelling.

HIDDEN COST: How you convert currency can eat into your holiday budget while travelling.

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These expenses can blow out your budget before you've reached your destination.

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YOU’VE worked hard to save the money to go on that holiday. But new research shows many Australians are wasting their cash on easily avoidable travel expenses.

A survey by online insurer InsureandGo from just shy of 90 per cent of respondents had unnecessarily spent their money on avoidable travel costs. 

More than a third (39 per cent) of respondents admitted they exchanged money at major airports – even though airport money exchange kiosks usually charge foreign transaction fees and mark-up their rates by as much as 8 per cent.

For instance, someone that exchanges AUD$1000 at the airport into USD, Great British Pounds (GBP) or Euros (EUR) could be out-of-pocket by as much as AUD$33, AUD$40 or AUD$23 respectively. Respondents in their 50s were the group most likely to allow airport currency exchanges to lose them money (45 per cent of respondents), compared with those in their 20s (33 per cent).

One in four (26 per cent) respondents said they had never used a dedicated travel card, which offers the advantage of locking in an exchange rate before you travel – despite recent talk of the Australian dollar falling.

With credit card foreign transaction fees having increased to almost three per cent in recent years,surprisingly, the results revealed a similar number of travellers (25 per cent of respondents) had withdrawn cash from their credit card at an ATM when overseas. By withdrawing AUD$500 from an overseas ATM, travellers could be charged around $15, depending on the financial provider.

A failure to be savvy about pre-travel booking costs can also lead to significant out-of-pocket expenses, and 24 per cent of respondents admitted to booking holiday flights just two weeks out from travelling – subjecting them to higher costs, as fares are generally higher closer to the departure date.  

Other money-wasting habits Aussies make is paying additional fees to car rental companies to reduce their insurance excess (22 per cent of respondents admitted to doing this), rather checking if their travel insurance can cover this.

A further 22 per cent failed to consult comparison websites when booking accommodation to find the best price, and 21 per cent of respondents did not clear their cookies before searching for, and booking accommodation or flights. Clearing your browser cookies is a great way to get a better fare when booking flights and accommodation online.

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