At Social Travel, helping you save money on your dream trip doesn’t stop when we complete your travel bookings. We would like to offer your great tips on how to save money while you are on your trip.
Notify your bank about your travel plan in advance
You should always inform your debit and credit card-issuing banks about the dates and destinations of your upcoming trips, so they would not lock or freeze your account when they detect foreign transactions that look suspicious. If you don’t have enough cash on you you’re your card is declined at the Point of Sales (POS), you may not be able to pay for what you need. The last thing you want to do abroad is spending lots of time and money to make an international call to your bank to unlock or unfreeze your accounts.
Save on ATM withdrawal fees
Scotiabank and its direct-banking subsidiary Tangerine are part of the Global ATM Alliance. Other members of the Alliance include Bank of America in the United States and Barclays in the U.K. Using a debit card issued by any of the member banks of the Global ATM Alliance, you can withdraw cash free of ATM charges from any of the 50,000 ATMs located all over the globe operated by other banks in the Alliance. However, your cash withdrawal would still be subject to foreign exchange fees. The daily withdrawal limit imposed by your card-issuing bank would still apply.
For travellers from Canada, there are no monthly fees for using a Tangerine account. Opening a new account is free, and you will get $25 bonus when you use our “Orange Key” 39941687S1. Apply for a Tangerine account now. You will get your Tangerine debit card in the mail if you opt for a chequing account in addition to a savings account.
If you would like to stick with your current bank not affiliated with the Global ATM Alliance or you have difficulty finding an ATM operated by the Alliance, consider contacting your bank to raise the daily withdrawal limit temporarily on your debit card to potentially reduce the number of times you have to use ATMs abroad.
Another alternative for Canadians is to get a debit card from BMO, which is active on the Maestro network. It would enable you to shop where local debit cards are accepted in European countries with Maestro as their main debit card network such as the Netherlands.
Save on foreign exchange fees
Banks in North America normally charges 2.0%-5.0% fee on transactions conducted in foreign currencies on your debit and credit cards. This fee can be avoided by using a credit card without foreign exchange fee such as Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card in Canada. Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers a sign-up bonus of $20 Amazon.ca Gift Certificate. You can also earn at least 1% cash back on all your spending.
Avoid currency exchange at the airports and Dynamic Currency Conversion at POS
Currency exchange establishments located on airport ground are notorious for bad rates. Currency exchange rates are usually better at downtown establishments. To reduce the risk of getting counterfeit currency and to protect personal safety, it is a good idea to exchange your money at local banks when you travel in foreign countries, with a few exceptions such as Venezuela where you get more bang for your buck by using the unofficial channels due to government’s strict currency control.
When you pay with your debit or credit card at a POS in a foreign country, you may be presented with the option to pay in your native currency. This is called dynamic currency conversion. Although you may be excited, the exchange rate applied on the transaction is determined by the POS operator if you opt for dynamic currency conversion. Many POS operators take advantage of this to rip off customers by adding unreasonable markup and service fees on the rate. You should always be able to opt out of dynamic currency conversion, but some POS operator makes it very tricky and it can be difficult if the display language on the POS terminal is foreign. Pay lots of attention, and insist to pay with local currency so that your card-issuing bank determines your currency exchange rate on the transaction.
To save money on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and local activities, always book with Social Travel for the best deals.
Do you have other tips to share with fellow social travellers on how to save money while you are travelling?