Holidaying abroard/ best way of having money

  Pamy 13:20 31 May 2006

hello everyone,

this is our (Hubby & I) first holiday to the South of France(latter this year) and I know things have changed concerning having spending money available. I would like to ask the more frequent overseas holiday makers what they concider to be the best way to have money to spend while there. We both have cridit cards, but should we take cash and/or travellers cheques? We will be staying in a mobile home on a camp site.

  medicine hat 13:48 31 May 2006

Got back at the weekend from Canada and America where we used the American Express Travellers Cheque Card. It has all the benefits of travellers cheques (prompt replacement if lost/stolen etc) with the ease of plastic (ATMs etc). However not everywhere took AmEx so I am more inclined to recommend the Travelex version which uses the VISA system click here

  silverous 13:49 31 May 2006

Must be the time of year. I've already linked to the daily mail once in these forums just a few moments ago so I won't do it again or people might thing I read it regularly !

My wife and I are in the same position and in today's 'money mail' there is an article on the various options and what the costs are.

M&S appear to be probably the best value in terms of currency. Every option costs you... we like to take Cash and some travellers cheques but use debit card although the article highlights how much that can cost.

I was surprised (but I suppose it isn't surprising really) that there are charges to get currency on a card so we are having to take out cash each day for a few days (due to limits on daily withdrawals) then walk into M&S one day witha bundle of cash...seems a bit risky and a bit old fashioned.

The article also mentions a few places where you can order currency online!

  namtas 13:54 31 May 2006

I would say it depends on your attitude to risk and costs. Taking cash is the most cost effective way to go but you also have to take more care with security.

Travellers cheques, I undestand are not as popular as they were, they have a commision charge and the exchange is at the local exchange rate whatever that may be.
Many restaurateurs and retailers in these countries now have the facility to get you to authorise your bill in euros but then they recharge your card in sterling. That sounds innocent but there’s a sting in the tail. The retailers charge you an additional service fee of up to 4%! The system is called dynamic currency conversion (DCC).

And another bit of helpful advice. Unless it’s an emergency don’t be tempted to use your plastic to withdraw euros. That’s because as with all cash withdrawals, interest will be charged from the minute the euros leave the cash dispenser. Remember, there’s never any interest free period on cash withdrawals.

  Pamy 14:13 31 May 2006

Thanks medicine hat, silverous and namtas for your info. I like the idea of pre paid cards, so will look more closely at that idea. As we will be staying in a mobile home I am more than concerned with carry large amounts of cash, can't leave it in the mobile and dont want a lot of cash in bag or pockets

  anchor 14:29 31 May 2006

Have a word with your local Nationwide branch. No extra charges when you use their Visa Credit card abroad, unlike most credit cards. Previously I had used Barclaycard, which surcharged me 2.5%.

I also have a Nationwide flex-account card, which you can use to withdraw cash at an ATM; again no extra charges.

I discovered this last year before my 3 weeks touring holiday in France. Saved me quite a bit.

Do take some Euros with you though; don`t bother with travellers cheques.

  anchor 14:39 31 May 2006

The Nationwide Visa credit card carries no surcharge or interest when you used abroad to pay bills, or for purchases, (like hotel, restaurant, petrol, etc). If you use it to withdraw cash, then interest is charged.

The "flex-account" card is a different thing; you are withdrawing money from your own account in the UK. Hence, no interest.

As we are on the road in a different place every day, we don`t like to have much cash on us either. This system suits us fine.

  bosmere 14:39 31 May 2006

I always use my debit card (bank charge of 1.75%) at the local cash point.

An added bonus is that the bank concerned have their conversion rates the wrong way round so I'm making about £22 per £100 drawn (equivalent local currency) profit on each transaction.

This has been going on for more than a year - love it!

  anchor 14:47 31 May 2006


Yes, I have noticed that I get a slightly better rate using the cards abroad than is normal at the bureau de change, either here or abroad.

Don`t think it amounts to 22% though; more like between 2% and 3%.

  Monoux 14:55 31 May 2006


  rowdy 15:02 31 May 2006

My wife and I holiday in France twice a year. I believe in covering all eventualities.

1. Cash - I buy mine at the Post Office usually one of the better rates and they take back any unused ( nice theory but my wife has her own way,spend it ) We only use the cash where absolutely necessary or for small local purchases.

2. Credit Card - Most expenditure goes on this especially Hotel Bills and Fuel ( always buy at local Supermarket usually cheaper ). As a bonus we have a GM Card and get 3% of all expenditure credited back against a new vauxhall.

3. I keep one bank account with a limited amount in and take the Debit card for that. If lost/stolen maximum damage is limited.

Spread cash between Wife and youself and ' hide ' some. Do not keep credit cards/debit card and cash in same wallet/pocket.

May be a little OTT but never had any problems


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