Embarking on a foreign holiday is an exciting adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in new cultures, explore breathtaking landscapes, and create lasting memories. It means broadening the horizons of children and a chance for parents to recharge depleted batteries.
It is nothing less than an investment in experience for your whole family. But like most investments it comes with some financial risks.
At Continuum we are looking at how you can make the most of investing in family fun, while avoiding the problems.
Don’t risk paying too much for your trip
All-inclusive and full-board holidays make it easier to stick to a budget as there are little or no extra costs and can work out cheaper than booking travel and a hotel yourself.
You may have left it rather late to book a holiday this year, but you can still grab a last minute bargain. Go online and you can find some very worthwhile savings from operators keen to fill seats and rooms.
You might need to be flexible about where you go – and when.
Just don’t expect the same levels of savings on last minute deals that used to make them cheaper than spending a fortnight at home. Airlines and hotels are so much smarter now with their pricing models.
Don’t put your money at risk
Managing money is as important when you are on holiday as it is as home. You will probably want to take local currency – but be careful where you change your money. There are plenty of sources of foreign exchange, especially if you want a major currency like dollars or euro, but rate you get, and the fees that pump up the costs still further can vary a lot.
You need to compare money changing services to see which offers a better deal.
Your bank? Your bank might not even charge a fee for changing money – but beware their exchange rates.
On the high street? High street travel services can often provide your cash at a better rate than the bank – but it pays to shop around.
An online service? An online service can often provide the best exchange rates and can even courier your cash to your door. But as always when online, beware of scams.
Don’t use a bureau at the airport. The Bureau de change booths may be convenient, but they never offer the best exchange rates. They take advantage of your last minute need to exchange currencies and charge accordingly.
Don’t risk playing the wrong card
Cash is being eclipsed by cards at home, and you might simply want to use cards abroad. You can use your usual credit and debit cards, but there can be extra costs.
- Use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. This will save you money on every purchase you make in a foreign currency.
- Withdraw cash from ATMs in the local currency. This is usually the best way to get the best exchange rate.
- Consider a prepaid card. You load it up before you go away. Some pre-paid card providers make a charge if you use them abroad so you look for a pre-paid card that’s specifically for travelling.
Get all your holiday risks covered
We don’t go away expecting the worst, but baggage gets lost, accidents happen, and illness can strike at any time. If you are heading abroad, you need to have adequate cover before you go.
A lost suitcase is upsetting, but the cost of emergency medical care is ruinous. A fall and a broken bone in the US could easily lead to high medical bills.
You might have private medical insurance at home, but it is unlikely to provide the cover you need while you’re abroad. Check your policy – but the chances are it will only provide cover from UK medical practitioners.
For your summer break, wherever in the world you are headed, regular and single trip travel insurance might be adequate – but if you are a frequent flyer, an annual cover policy may cost less overall.
Maximise your returns
With the risks covered, it only remains for you to make the most of your investment. Plan ahead to find the best trips and visits, and try to learn a few local phrases. Find out what the locals eat – and try it yourself.
Try getting off the beaten tourist trail – and above all enjoy it all.
If you need any help with investments of a more conventional kind, or any other financial matters, contact us at Continuum. Our expert team will be happy to help.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.