Protecting your cash abroad, and making it go further

Even well-seasoned travellers may admit to feeling unsure about how best to deal with their cash abroad - do you change it at the airport before your flight? Or at the Post Office weeks before you jet off? Or do you change just enough to cover your airport expenses, then pay for everything using your standard debit card? These alone are enough to cause confusion, but add options such as credit cards and pre-paid cards into the mix, and things can get more difficult than finding a discount flight at a sociable time.

As well as the consideration of the practicalities of managing money overseas, savvy Brits will also be keen to get the very best out of their hard-saved holiday spending money - so what’s the best way forward?

The expert opinion seems to be that a mix of a few different options is the best way to keep money secure, make it go further, and budget accordingly.

Managing director of Matthew Wood recommends planning ahead and pre-booking excursions before you leave. This works two fold, meaning you can often benefit from discounted prices for booking in advance, and it also means the cost of the excursions does not come out of your holiday budget while you are overseas.

While abroad, he says travellers should avoid the risk of carrying cash by opting for pre-paid cards, and advises researching the travel options available to you in your resort.

“When getting around your holiday destination, look into using the local bus routes or hiring a bicycle instead of grabbing expensive taxis out of convenience,” he says.

He also offers the following advice against a frustrating holiday scenario many of us have faced - saving money buying duty free goods, only to find the discount is wiped out by the extra baggage costs we face heading home.

Matthew advises: “If you’re planning to bring back alcohol, cigarettes or perfume using your duty-free allowance, or are planning to bring back a substantial amount of gifts for friends and family members, save a little weight in your suitcase before flying out, as you’re then less likely to go overweight and be charged additional baggage fees on your return flights home.

As well as this, holidaymakers who are sun and relaxation seekers first and foremost, and who may be happy remaining within their hotel complex rather than heading further afield, should definitely get the calculator out and work out if it would be better value to pay more for all-inclusive rather than self-catering.

This advice really can save people hundreds of pounds. Consider the cost of even a day by the pool on a self-catering holiday - a few Euros for a bottle or two of water, several Euros each time you fancy a cold beer, even more for lunch and another beer and water, and then the additional costs of any snacks or ice creams. It’s easy to see how people can run up food and drink bills of hundreds per day, so why not take the financial plunge and pay more for all-inclusive in the first instance?

With some forward planning, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy the holiday of a lifetime without it costing a fortune - what is your top tip for stretching the holiday budget?