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Topic # 96917 7-Feb-2012 15:07
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I'll be heading off to the UK in June for a four-week holiday - my first such trip - and I'm starting to think about how to manage my money while I'm away.  We'll likely be booking most of our accomodation before we leave, and will book some of our travel (e.g. rental cars, internal flights for some parts of the trip) in advance, but we'll need money for travel (taxis, public transport, etc), food, and spending.

I'm wondering about the merits of travel cards, versus converting dollars to pounds in advance (progressively over the next four months), versus using a credit card (Mastercard).  I've had a look at this month's Consumer article about travel cards, and the OneSmart (AirNZ) card seems to be a good choice.

What are other people's experiences when travelling overseas?  Is it easier to just take a credit card and use that for most things (e.g. paying at the restaurant, withdrawing cash from ATMs for other expenses).  Are travel cards worth it?  Has anyone used a travel card and would recommend it? 

Any thoughts, suggestions or tips?

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  Reply # 578256 7-Feb-2012 15:27
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We used one from Kiwibank in France and overall it worked well. There were a couple of places that it didn't work, toll booth (but not all toll booths) but we took money out at ATM's, paid for meals etc with it and usually it was fine.

You don't get overseas currency fee's like you do with credit cards, and if you buy money when the rates are good you don't end up with their crappy exchange rates.

My advice would be to take a spare credit card in case it doesn't work at some places, or carry a bit of spare cash.

We also topped it up via the net while away from an NZ account when needed.

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  Reply # 578260 7-Feb-2012 15:35
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Whatever you decide, always have 2 methods of payment available as not all places take everything. We always just carry enough of the local currency for small purchases, and Visa everything else. Right or wrong I have never been concerned about a few extra dollars here and there for offshore margins when I have spent thousands on a trip. Put the Visa well in credit before you go and its just like a debit card.





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  Reply # 578265 7-Feb-2012 15:45
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scuwp: Whatever you decide, always have 2 methods of payment available as not all places take everything. We always just carry enough of the local currency for small purchases, and Visa everything else. Right or wrong I have never been concerned about a few extra dollars here and there for offshore margins when I have spent thousands on a trip. Put the Visa well in credit before you go and its just like a debit card.


Just out of interest, why would you want to put the Visa in credit? 

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  Reply # 578280 7-Feb-2012 16:14
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I just use a credit card and then a normal bank card for ATM withdrawals. I try to have a reasonable guess as to how much cash I will need for the next week or so in order to keep the number of ATM transactions down and minimise the fees. I don't use a credit card for ATM as this is counted as a cash advance and incurrs interest from day 1

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  Reply # 578312 7-Feb-2012 17:00
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I took the Kiwibank card with me to the US, and it was rubbish. They of course blamed me, but next to no places in the US take tapNgo and most are swipe only (You need to insert the card). I had problems getting cash from every ATM. I called customer service when I got back and they were useless and worse still the manager was rude and unhelpful. On top of that with a large balance on the card, to exchange it back will mean we lose quite some sums of money.

I would not use it again in the USA, and given Kiwibanks attitude I am not sure I would use them again a all.

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  Reply # 578328 7-Feb-2012 17:45
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I use only eftpos and credit card.

Credit card works anywhere they are supported, but the eftpos works only for cash withdrawals at +PLUS marked ATMs as far as I know.

Not sure what the advantages of a travel card would be.

A card that worked on local store terminals would eliminate a bit of the eftpos machine hunting, the cash withdrawals and a bit of the cash carrying I guess.

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  Reply # 578339 7-Feb-2012 18:18
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I've used plenty of different options over the years in my travels and think the Air NZ OneSmart card, possibly in conjunction with a regular credit card is your best option.

Fee free ATM withdrawls when you want cash, and you can just use your normal credit card for everything else if you want.


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  Reply # 578447 7-Feb-2012 21:35
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I used a travellex card in Europe a few years ago it was great as you locked in a rate so knew what everything was costing the downside was the $5 fee each time you got money from an ATM so we withdraw largish amounts to keep the fees down which meant we were carrying quite a bit of cash on us.

Heading to USA/canada and will be using the oneSmart Air NZ card. as sai no fees to withdrawl and decent rates around 0.0040cents less than advertised by the banks.




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  Reply # 578461 7-Feb-2012 21:59
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If using a credit card over there in restaurants and shops, choose to pay in $NZD not local currency if the merchant/terminal gives you that option. That way the $$ is converted by your bank not theirs - I found it was consistently cheaper.

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  Reply # 578507 8-Feb-2012 00:01
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sbiddle: I've used plenty of different options over the years in my travels and think the Air NZ OneSmart card, possibly in conjunction with a regular credit card is your best option.

Fee free ATM withdrawls when you want cash, and you can just use your normal credit card for everything else if you want.



Well free except that every ATM I found overseas charges $5-10. 

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  Reply # 578513 8-Feb-2012 06:20
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networkn:
sbiddle: I've used plenty of different options over the years in my travels and think the Air NZ OneSmart card, possibly in conjunction with a regular credit card is your best option.

Fee free ATM withdrawls when you want cash, and you can just use your normal credit card for everything else if you want.



Well free except that every ATM I found overseas charges $5-10. 


The only ATM's I've ever seen and paid convenience fees on (and I'm talking about 100's and 100's of ATM withdrawls over my travels) have been private ATM's which are common in the UK and US and have to clearly display their fee structure. I've never paid a convenience fee at a bank ATM.

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  Reply # 578531 8-Feb-2012 08:16
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bazzer:
scuwp: Whatever you decide, always have 2 methods of payment available as not all places take everything. We always just carry enough of the local currency for small purchases, and Visa everything else. Right or wrong I have never been concerned about a few extra dollars here and there for offshore margins when I have spent thousands on a trip. Put the Visa well in credit before you go and its just like a debit card.


Just out of interest, why would you want to put the Visa in credit? 


Sorry Bazzer, bit late in replying...

My understanding is that if your balance is in credit you do not get hit with 'international cash withdraw' fees (or something like that) when getting cash from an ATM.  It also lessens the pain when you get home again and have to pay the bill!  

 




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