With the last breath of winter still in the air, most people will be looking forward to sitting down and planning a holiday abroad. If this seems like a good idea, there’s one thing to remember before you leave behind the grey British shores in favour of some well-deserved sun – don’t forget to pack your credit card.
Of course, for some, the expense of Christmas and the New Year may have had a nasty impact on their finances, leaving a getaway as the last thing on their mind. However, for those that do manage to plan in a seasonal break, making sure they have the right credit cards in their wallet or purse can be essential.
If you choose to spread the cost of your booking using your travel credit card, you might just be able to make your holiday a reality without having to scrimp and save elsewhere. This way, you will also benefit from greater protection, as the right piece of plastic will ensure the purchase is covered should anything go wrong. The news has been filled with instances in recent years of travel companies and retailers that have bit the dust thanks to global economic uncertainty, so in order to make sure you are not left without a holiday and struggling to get back what you initially paid out, it might be wise to consider your credit card as a payment option.
Alternatively, if you use the card to cover your spending money while you are away, you not only have the peace of mind of knowing goods and services abroad will be subject to similar protection, but you might also save money – as drawing out cash with your card can be cheaper than taking currency along with you in some cases. Of course, every credit card is different so you will need to make sure this is the case and that you aren’t subject to too many extra charges for using your card in another country.
Research conducted last year revealed that more than 30 million UK holidaymakers still change their pounds sterling for the currency of their destination before they head overseas. The study revealed that over half of them see this as the most convenient way to pay, while around 40 per cent said they think it is the most secure. However, it was also revealed that a growing number of people are benefitting from the convenience and security of using their credit card abroad – with this method of payment seeing a 5 per cent increase in the last 10 years. It was estimated that around one third of Brits now use their plastic while abroad – either for dining out, accommodation costs or withdrawing cash.
One reason many people were found to be paying in this way was that they prefer not to carry large amounts of cash. Many providers now offer protection against fraud, and the option to have lost or stolen or cards replaced quickly and without any hassle. However, others might be making sure their plastic is on their luggage list simply because they love to travel and like to pick up points every time they spend that can later be converted into plane tickets. This type of points-based rewards scheme has been popular for some time now and, if you happen to be a frequent flyer, you can soon see the air miles clock up.
In addition to travel points, other great travel benefits you should be on the lookout for when you compare credit cards online are rewards programmes that work alongside other travel partners to offer hotel deals, discount car hire and other ways to save. If security is a concern, some will even provide you with access to free 24-hour international helplines, so, even if the worst should happen – you have somewhere to go to find out what to do next.
With all this in mind, when you come to sit down and plan out your next holiday – whether it is a break in the sun, a trip to an exotic dream location or even just a long weekend break in a European city – perhaps you should consider the benefits of making sure you have a credit card in place that makes paying for it or spending money while you’re there easier, cheaper or perhaps more rewarding.
This guest post is contributed by Sandra Waldorf, She writes topics on credit card comparison for Thinking Money.