Financial tips for Easter travellers


Easter is just around the corner!

Whether you're shopping in Seoul or enjoying wine in Loire Valley, it makes sense you want to save as much as you can before and during the trip. Here are some tips on getting the most from you travel money.

Create a budget: First of all, determine how much you can afford to spend. Then list out your holiday costs, including airfares, transportation and car hire, accommodation, entry fees for sightseeing and activities, wine and dine, souvenirs, charges for using your mobile phone and internet, etc. – and don't forget travel insurance!

Cut back expenses: If the costs exceed your planned budget, look over the list and review where you can cut back. Even if they don't, cut back on spending before you go and you will have more money to spend on your trip. Try out our Cut-back Calculator to help.

Stick to the budget: It is very important for you to stick to the budget, especially when you are having a shopping trip. After all, you don't want to pay off your travel debts for the rest of the year.

Exchange before you go: Before you leave, think about how you are going to access your money on the road at the most favourable exchange rate possible. You may also consider to change enough money before the trip to cover transportation costs, tips and lunch/dinner on arrival at your destination.

Avoid the bureau de change at the airport as it normally charges an exorbitant exchange rate. If you already have enough currency to get you into town, buying foreign currency at banks in the city which have much better exchange rates than the convenient but pricey exchange kiosks at the airport and train station.

Avoid carrying lots of cash around as it may not be covered by your travel insurance if it is lost or stolen.

Think twice on using credit card to withdraw cash: In addition to exchange rate fees and withdrawal charges, you will also have to pay interest on the withdrawal immediately even if you pay off your bill in full when you return home.

Access your money with ATM card: ATMs are a convenient way to obtain local currency at a reasonable exchange rate, when compared to withdrawing cash with a credit card. But you will still have to pay an exchange rate fee and a withdrawal fee. Also, beware of extra cost incurred by withdrawing money in multiple transactions.

Lastly, if you think you may need to withdraw cash from ATMs outside Hong Kong, you have to activate the overseas cash withdrawal capability of your ATM card before travelling.