When you go on holiday there’s bound to be something you forget – but I’d much rather leave behind my toothbrush than head overseas without checking off these money matters from my holiday checklist.
This week I’m going on a hen do (yes, that’s right, a man going on a hen do) to Copenhagen. It’ll be my first trip abroad this year so I’ve a fair few things to sort out from getting cash to keeping costs down on my mobile.
It’s all stuff that will probably affect you too, so here’s my money related to-do list to help you think about what you still need to do.
Find my EHIC
Despite Brexit, European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid (for now) and are essential for trips to Europe. But there were a couple of things I needed to check.
First was the expiry date. Fortunately, I’ve got a year or so left, but each summer holidaymakers find out too late for their trip that they should have renewed their card.
Watch out for websites charging you to get an EHIC – they’re are scamming you. Instead apply or renew for free through gov.uk.
Second was just finding out if Denmark is one of the countries that is covered (it is). Not every European country comes under the agreement, so it’s always worth checking.
Check my insurance
Sadly, an EHIC isn’t enough on its own. I still needed full travel insurance.
A mistake people often make is waiting until a few days before they travel to get insurance. Though you’d be covered if something went wrong when you were away, you’re at risk of missing out if your airline went bust, lost your job and couldn’t afford to go, or if you were too ill to travel. So get it as soon as you book!
Last year we had travel insurance included in our home insurance deal, but we switched provider in January to a company that didn’t.
Since we’re going to America and Mexico later this year I’d recently bought annual worldwide insurance, so I’m covered for this trip, and the next 12 months anywhere in the world. Sorted.
Order travel money
I’m not taking much money with me. A lot has been prepaid already, and I’ll use my specialist travel credit card where I can, but I want to have a little bit of cash on me.
I’ve only a few days before I fly, which is quite late to get travel money – but there’s still time for me to get the best rate possible on my cash.
The best way to find the top exchange rates is to use Money Saving Expert’s TravelMoneyMax comparison tool. For me, TravelMoneyMax showed I could order and collect on the same day at a bureau de change in London to get the most Danish Krone to pounds.
Normally I’d do this, but since I only want around £30 there was only around 20p difference from preordering to collect at the airport – a far more convenient option seeing as I’m really busy this week.
Here’s more on getting the best from travel money, including why you should never, ever just exchange when you go to get your flight.
Call my credit card provider
As I said, I’ll try to spend most of the time on my Halifax Clarity credit card. It gives the best rates abroad, and I find it easier to manage than my Supercard. Plus it’s cheaper to withdraw money if I need to.
However, before I start using it overseas I’ll have to let Halifax know. The danger of not doing this – or forgetting – is the card could be stopped due to suspicious activity. Then I’d be stuck!
Of course, phoning a bank is never fun so I kept putting off calling them, but as it turned out, there was an option on the Halifax app to notify them. Done in 30 seconds.
Sort out my phone
Before I moved to Three I used to switch off voicemail and turn off any data options before leaving the country – the costs of using both overseas can be exorbitant.
Because of this I switched to Three before my honeymoon last year. It’s Feel At Home system allows me to use my inclusive calls and data abroad for no extra cost.
However, it doesn’t cover every country. I’ve checked and Denmark is included, so I’ll be safe to text, call and surf the web over the weekend for free – especially handy for using Google Maps! Sadly Mexico isn’t included, so I’ll have to remember to switch off everything before heading there later this year!
You don’t have to switch your phone to Three completely in you don’t want to. You can get a pay-as-you-go SIM and activate the Feel at Home offer, you just need to top up. Or just get a 30 day contract, which is what I did last year – I ended up staying with them as they offered me a big discount.
Right, now this is all done, it’s time to pack everything else.