Travel agent secret tips: How to save on holiday money

When you go on a holiday abroad, it is easy to rack up unnecessary costs in high exchange rates and bank fees on debit card and credit card transactions. Many Indian banks offer travel cards with attractive features to keep costs down.

A holiday overseas should be stress-free, not a battle with exchange rates and hidden fees! But so many of us watch our bank balances shrink in dismay even before the holiday begins. When we pay for hotels bookings, car rentals, tours etc. with our credit cards or debit cards, we often pay as much as 10 to 13% percent extra fees.

When we get to our destination, it is easier using debit cards and credit cards rather than cash. But when we pay in our own currencies rather than the local currency, we pay a lot more in hidden charges.

Organizing travel money does not have to be so troublesome anymore. Frequent travelers know the little tips and tricks to pay less extra charges, easily pay in local currencies and have more money to spend on exotic foods and shopping!

So, here are some handy tips that you can use when you travel abroad the next time.

Tip: Use SBI Forex Card instead of Debit of Credit Card

If you have a bank account with SBI (State Bank of India) then you can apply for the State Bank Foreign Travel Card, which is a chip-based prepaid card. Simply fill the card with foreign currency before you leave, and use it for dining, shopping etc. in a foreign country without worrying about joining fees, annual fees, credit limits or exchanging cash. It has a minimum load amount for each of the eight currencies that it supports, which are USD, GBP, EURO, AUD, CAD, YEN, SGD and SAR. It can be topped up by anyone in India, when you are abroad.

Normal charges include a small FTC Issuance fee of INR 105+ST, a re-load fee of INR 52 plus ST and a small ATM withdrawal fee.

Most debit cards will incur you a currency conversion markup starting at 3.5% plus service tax. Special foreign exchange rates are usually only applicable to travel currency cards. Also, with the SBI travel card you do not need to worry about the limits placed by debit and credit cards. For transactions over INR 50,000 you will only have to submit PAN details.

Tip: Use Travel Currency Cards issued by other private banks

If you do not have an SBI account, consider foreign travel cards at your local bank. Let us compare with some of the charges that foreign travel cards incur. Take a look at the Axis Bank Travel Currency Card, for instance. At present, the charges include an initial sale fee of INR 150 plus taxes, a reload fee of INR 100 plus taxes, ATM withdrawal charges generally slightly higher than SBI card rates, encashment charges of INR 100 plus taxes and a 3.5% currency exchange markup.

Stay entertained even as you travel within the country

Tip: Save on Mobile Data for travel entertainment with PressPlay

When you make long distance journeys on buses and trains in India or spend a long night at a hotel that does not have free WiFi, you may end up spending expensive mobile data. PressPlayTV is an Indian startup that offers an app with which you can connect to a hybrid network and stream movie and video content on your phone for free. You can enjoy this free and fast internet service on Ola shuttles, Indian Railways, a number of travel company buses and more.

These are some simple tips on how to make the best use of your travel money on holiday. Have a blast!

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Kailash Kumar16 Aug 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

ICICI bank also offers prepaid foreign currency card known as ICICI Bank Travel Card. This prepaid card can be loaded with foreign currency in India by paying in Indian rupees and can be used to swipe on merchant outlets and withdraw cash in the local currency from ATMs accepting Visa / Mastercard flag cards. It provides a personal air accident cover of Rs 10 Lakh- only in death cases. This cover is available for primary cardmembers up to the age of 69 and is applicable only overseas. In addition, insurance cover up to specified limit is provided in the cases of missing of connecting international flight during transit, loss of travel documents (Passport, Visa, Tickets), hijacking, delay in receipt of checked baggage, lost card liability insurance cover and counterfeit card liability insurance cover.

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