The summer is at its peak here and also because of summer vacations, it’s travel time now. Some people might be heading for their hometown or the nearby hill stations, and those who can afford it must be looking for a trip abroad. However, one of the most important things to consider is: how to carry your fund while travelling abroad. That is because you won’t be allowed to pay in Indian rupee in another country. So, what to do?
Here we are taking a look at some of the best ways to carry your fund while travelling abroad:
Multicurrency Travel Card: Prepaid travel cards are the most popularly used by travellers today. A multi-currency forex card is a smart way to carry multiple currencies. “It offers travellers protection against currency fluctuations, cross currency transaction charges and minimum transaction charges on pre-paid forex card usage at ATMs overseas. Most banks also provide complimentary travel insurance on the purchase of travel cards. Travellers also have the option to lock-in the exchange rate before travel, thereby facing any future uncertainties,” says Neelu Singh, CEO & Director, Ezeego1.
Cash: It is essential to carry foreign currency within permissible limits while travelling to a foreign country. While travel cards and traveller cheques are the most advisable, it is important to carry local currency to pay for essentials like food and drink, tips and taxis. “Cash also comes handy when cards or cheques are not accepted or do not work. The amount of cash one carries also depends on the destination they are travelling to. A card-to-cash ratio of 75:25 is advised,” says Singh.
It is also advisable to carry foreign exchange based on the local currency available. For example, if you are travelling to Singapore, you should carry Singapore Dollars only. Likewise, if you travel to the UK, you should carry foreign currency in Pounds though Euros are accepted in the UK. “If you pay in Euro, they will return the change in Pounds. Euro is accepted in all the Euro Zone destinations. Finally, when travelling to some countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, it is advised to carry USD and convert it into the local currency while in that country. However, when you return, please ensure that you exchange the local currency with USD at the local airport in that country as those currencies cannot be exchanged in India,” advises Ravi Menon, Head-Foreign Exchange, Cox & Kings Ltd.
Pre-Paid Debit Cards: A guest is entitled to carry foreign exchange equivalent of USD 250,000 in a financial year. However, the RBI has stipulated that a traveller cannot avail in excess of USD 3,000 or its equivalent during a single visit in currency notes. The remaining has to be through prepaid forex cards. Therefore, “you should carry the remaining in pre-paid debit cards which are available on VISA Platforms as well as MasterCard Platforms. The single currency and multi-currency cards are available for the guest to use when travelling to multiple countries on the same visit,” says Menon.
Debit / Credit Card: Debit cards are convenient and hassle-free as travellers with a MasterCard and Visa Debit Card can carry on transactions overseas just like they do in India. Debit card transaction or cash withdrawal, however, is subject to currency conversion fees. It is important to inform your bank about your trip so that large transactions do not call for your banks to freeze your account for security reasons.
Travellers Checks: While plastic money is preferred the most for overseas travel, travellers checks are useful for places where there are few ATMs and cards are not accepted. “Travellers checks, however, can have their pros and cons as it is subject to currency fluctuation. If the currency changes during the travel period and the exchange rates become more favourable, it will benefit the consumer once he arrives in the country. Travellers checks can also restrict a traveller from spending over and above his budget unlike a travel card which give a traveller more flexibility,” says Singh.
Keeping all these things in view, you should not rely on a single mode of payment while travelling abroad, but should have a balanced travel money portfolio, including travellers cheques, debit cards, charge and credit cards, among others.