But before you get caught up in the euphoria of the sights you might take in or the shopping you’re dying to do, it’s important to make some provisions as far as your money and transacting abroad is concerned.
Anthony Grant, FNB Foreign Exchange CEO, shares his top money tips for first time international travellers:
1. Get travel insurance
While this may sound like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised by how many first-time travellers skip this very important cover.
“Travel insurance is important because, should an unforeseen incident occur, such as a medical emergency or loss of luggage, you will be cushioned against having to dig deep into your pocket to cover these costs,” Grant warns.
Once you have taken out travel insurance, make sure that you understand the terms and conditions and what exactly you’re covered against.
2. Organise your foreign currency before you leave
Because of daily exchange rate fluctuations, it’s advisable and often more cost-effective to order your foreign currency before your departure date.
“Withdrawing cash or exchanging currency while you are travelling could turn out to be quite costly due to changing market conditions between you leaving and arriving at your destination,” advises Grant.
3. Notify your bank
Your bank’s anti-fraud division is always on the lookout for any suspicious activity on your bank account. Your bank may block your account if it picks up international transactions and it isn’t aware that you are out of the country.
Ensure that you inform your bank about your travel dates and destinations so that this doesn’t happen.
Conversely, when your bank knows that you’re overseas and picks up transactions locally, it will be able to immediately red-flag the transaction.
4. Get a travel card
A travel card is advantageous on a number of fronts, as it allows you to load four different types of currencies (the US dollar, the British pound, the Australian dollar as well as the Euro).
It mitigates the risk of carrying large amounts of money on you, but it also helps you stay within your budget because you can only spend what is loaded on the card.
“The card enables you to swipe at merchants and withdraw cash around the world where you see the MasterCard acceptance mark,” Grants says.