7 Common Money Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling Abroad

March 21, 2023

Here are some of the most common money mistakes to avoid when traveling abroad.

Frequent travelers know how tricky money can be when traveling abroad. Should you carry a huge wad of cash or charge all purchases to your credit card? Wrong decisions can make you spend more than you intended.

7 Common Money Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling Abroad
Photo by Taryn Elliott

7 Common Money Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling Abroad

    Lifestyle vlogger Jennie Ver Gabon, a wanderer at heart who currently works in Japan, shares some tips to avoid costly money mistakes when traveling.

    1. Exchanging money at the airport

    Airport exchange kiosks aren’t the best place to get local currency as they often have less favorable exchange rates and higher conversion fees. Instead, exchange your money before you leave home, so you have enough time to shop around for the best rate. You can call your bank to know if they offer foreign currency exchange services.

    2. Failing to plan ahead for your local transport

    Not researching the airport’s distance to your hotel and your transportation options can slash a huge chunk off your budget. You might end up taking taxis, which are notorious for overcharging tourists. Look up how the train or bus system works in your travel destination. Your hotel may also provide airport shuttle services, so remember to call ahead.

    3. Traveling without insurance

    Lost luggage, accident claims, and flight cancellations are usually problems that can be remedied by travel insurance. These emergencies are a headache to deal with and can set you back thousands of bucks. 

    It’s better to invest in a comprehensive travel insurance for your peace of mind, especially if you’re a frequent flyer. Getting a travel insurance that covers expenses for medical emergencies is also highly recommended in this age of COVID-19.

    4. Using your debit or credit card

    We all love our debit and credit cards for their convenience, but you have to think twice about swiping when abroad. Depending on your bank and card, you might be charged a foreign transaction fee of up to 3.5% for every purchase. Probably not what you want to spend your travel budget on, right? So, check your card issuer’s policies on offshore transactions before you leave.

    5. Withdrawing from local ATMs

    Withdrawing local currency from the ATMs in your destination could be a good way to score decent exchange rates. Still, you have to be careful with service charges and withdrawal limits. Call up your local bank before your trip to inquire about international transaction fees and daily withdrawal limits so you can plan accordingly.

    6. Keeping all your cash in one place

    Be careful with how much cash you carry and where you keep them when you’re in another country. Tourists often fall prey to pickpockets and thieves because of neglect. You don’t want a robber to ruin your vacation, right?

    7. Exchanging leftover cash back to peso

    If you still have some foreign currency left on your last day, you’re better off spending it in duty-free shops instead of exchanging it back to peso. The exchange rate to peso will probably be lower than the rate to the currency you need. This means you’ll make the most of your money if you just spend it — unless you have immediate plans to return to the same travel destination.

    Say ‘Hello’ to Worry-Free Trips Abroad

    Besides these seven common money mistakes, the best trick Ms. Gabon has learned from all her travels is to use digital payments like e-wallets.

    One of the e-wallets that support overseas payments is HelloMoney, which is powered by Asia United Bank (AUB), one of the fastest-growing publicly listed universal banks in the Philippines. Last November, AUB, in collaboration with Alipay+ of the Ant Group, made the e-wallet available and accepted for use initially in South Korea and Japan. This means traveling in these foreign cities is now more convenient by saving you the hassle of exchanging your money or carrying cash.

    You can use the HelloMoney app in convenience stores, restaurants, and retail shops, as long as the merchant accepts Alipay+. You can even pay for your transportation expenses using HelloMoney since train systems in Japan and South Korea, as well as some taxi drivers, are now Alipay+ partners.

    HelloMoney is easy to use. All you have to do is scan the QR code at the cashier and you’re done! Some merchants require you to generate a QR code, which the cashier will scan with a barcode reader. Either way, the transaction won’t take more than two minutes.

    Other than digital payments, the e-wallet also lets you buy prepaid load, remit money through PeraPadala, settle bills, and withdraw from an ATM.

    AUB is also expanding HelloMoney’s market in other Asian countries so you’ll be able to use it in other countries soon, too! For now, enjoy your HelloMoney to go cashless in the lands of the rising sun and the morning calm.

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