If you’re planning on jetting off to another country this year, then you’ll already know how expensive some holidays can be. From the flights to the accommodation and everything in between, there is a lot to pay for when travelling abroad. Thankfully, with our NHS travel discounts, we can help you save on your next booking.
Whether you’re planning on lying on a tropical beach or exploring a continental city, there are still ways you can save money on holiday as a Health Service Discounts member. Read our blog to find out how you can cut down the costs of your trip and save money in the process.
1. Use a Travel Credit Card
- Spend safely using a credit card
- Avoid foreign transaction fees
- Protect larger purchases between £100 and £30k
A great way to save money and keep your money safe at the same time is by getting a travel credit card. With this type of card, you can spend outside the UK without incurring foreign transaction fees, which come as standard with other credit cards and most debit cards too.
This is particularly useful if you plan on paying by card frequently, perhaps if you are on a city break and need to make multiple purchases on a daily basis. In addition, if you plan on spending over £100 on items to take home (for example, electronic items like a smartphone or a speaker), you will have further protection through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Try and stick to a holiday budget and try to pay off the full amount every month to avoid any further interest payments. Alternatively, there are a few challenger banks that allow for fee-free transactions when paying on a debit card.
2. Always Pay in the Local Currency
- When you pay on a card, you can pay in sterling or the local currency.
- Always choose local currency as it’s a better exchange rate.
Now that you’ve got your travel credit card and are ready to pay with it, you will get a choice when approaching the till. Would you like to pay in sterling or in the local currency?
The answer you should always choose is to pay in the local currency. This means that rather than the retailer doing the exchange for you, your card provider does the exchange instead. The problem with the retailer doing the exchange is that they can define the rate, which is often much higher than the actual exchange rate.
Paying in the local currency and getting your provider to do the exchange is therefore preferable when paying on your travel credit card.
3. Don’t withdraw cash on your card
- You will get charged on most credit cards for withdrawing cash
- Check your card terms to find out if you can withdraw for free
If you’re planning to use a credit card, one thing you should definitely avoid is getting cash out. You will usually receive a flat fee for taking cash out of an ATM so can easily incur extra fees. Instead, always pay on the card, and always choose to spend in the local currency to get a better exchange rate.
If you really need to get cash out, try and get a good exchange rate before getting on the plane. This will ensure you still have cash but aren’t spending extra to get cash out whilst abroad.
4. Cut down on holiday extras
- Avoid expensive extras such as flight upgrades
- Use public transport and local restaurants to cut costs
There are plenty of holiday extras to snap up, including flight upgrades, accommodation upgrades, private transfers from the airport and many others. As much as these are good for a luxury holiday, they aren’t always necessary if there is a perfectly good equivalent.
That means taking public transport from the airport to your accommodation, flying in economy class and staying away from the minibar in your hotel bedroom! Try and plan meals ahead and avoid additional extras where possible (unless they’re really good of course).
5. Keep your Receipts (if travelling outside the EU)
- You can claim sales tax back if travelling outside the EU
- Make sure you keep hold of your receipts and present them on your return journey
Depending on the country you’re travelling to, you should be able to make the most of tax-free shopping in participating retailers, meaning you can claim back the tax you originally paid on the item.
However, as a UK national, you will have to travel outside of the EEU (European Economic Area) to take advantage of this and be in a country that allows you to claim back your sales tax, which will be the equivalent of VAT in the UK. Do your research and find out what you can claim if you’re planning to make a larger purchase whilst on holiday outside of the EU.
6. Compare Travel Credit Cards
If you’re planning on travelling abroad, you might want to think about getting a travel credit card to avoid transaction fees. Try the money matches eligibility tool to see the likelihood of you being accepted for a credit card today.
Bonus Tip – Use NHS discounts
As a healthcare worker, you can sign up to Health Service Discounts for FREE and access our amazing discounts – including our NHS travel discounts. From travelling abroad, Europe and Overseas, UK travel, to travel extras such as airport parking and travel insurance, save with Health Service Discounts.