Avoiding post-holiday financial hangovers

Credit card
Transaction costs
Money Tracker

Author: Mr Chin28/03/2018

A lot of my co-workers travel overseas for long holidays to recharge themselves. When you’re relaxed, jolly and on vacation, it’s just so easy to overspend. Fear not, here are 6 money-travellers’ saving tips I can share with you. 

1. Develop a budget and spend wisely 

Before your trip, list out all the expenses, including flight tickets, accommodation, transportation, attraction tickets, shopping, mobile and data services, and make sure you can afford them.. If you overspent on an item, cut back on others. Whatever your budget is, always take out a travel insurance that offers you the protection you need.

2. Coupon hunting 

Upon arriving at your destination, look out for coupons and discount cards at the airport service counters. These coupons will help you save on ticketing, transportation, dining or shopping.

3. Pay by credit card in Hong Kong dollar or foreign currencies?

Bringing too much cash on vacation isn’t all that convenient, and if it was lost or stolen, your travel insurance may not offer full coverage. However, most banks charge administrative fees for credit card transactions overseas (some credit cards attract customers by waiving such fees). If the transaction is settled in Hong Kong dollar, dynamic currency conversion (DCC) charge may incur, and  you’ll end up paying more. The rule of thumb is to pay in the local currency unless that currency’s exchange rate has been volatile lately . Before the trip, consult with the credit card’s issuing bank to find out more about charges applicable to different payment methods and currencies.

4. Avoid credit card cash advancements

On top of the service fees applicable to currency exchange and cash withdrawals, banks also start charging interest from the moment a withdrawal is made. Even if you settle the payment right away when you’re back in town, you still need to pay the interest.

5. Make use of the best exchange rates

Before the trip, compare the exchange rates offered by different parties, especially for Japanese Yen, Euro and US Dollar. If you’re visiting Thailand, Taiwan or Korea, the exchange rates are likely to be more favourable locally. For less popular destinations, bring some US Dollars alongtoo. The exchange rates offered by banks or currency exchange shops at the airports tend to be less favourable, so you may consider exchanging at a bank or currency exchange shop locally.

6. Bringing along a financial assistant

The “Money Tracker” mobile app from The Chin Family supports different currencies. This pocket financial planner will help record your expenses and keep track of your budget.