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Holidaying Abroad? Here's What Should Keep In Mind…


Time to read: 6 mins | April 8, 2018

You’ve dreamed about it…

You’ve thought about it…

You’ve talked about it…

And now you’re itching to finalise the itinerary and book your tickets to your favourite holiday destination abroad.

Yes, we all need some time off. Holidaying abroad with family and/or friends will give you that well-deserved break.

But before you embark on your adventure, it pays to plan ahead and ensure that you have everything in order. No one likes unpleasant surprises and if such surprises do cross your path, you should be well prepared to avoid any untoward incident.

Here are a few pointers that could ensure a truly relaxed holiday:

Plan your itinerary with a budget in mind

Don’t rush your trip. If you are booking a holiday package through a travel agent, take the time to understand the itinerary and the costs covered. While package deals may cover the basic travel costs, they may not include all meals and entry fees or camera fees of tourist sites. If you are doing your own bookings, do account for all costs by checking the local rates.

No holiday is complete without a shopping list. Local delicacies, souvenirs, and other knickknacks cost money and are often overpriced for tourists. Do account for these costs as well.

While budgeting is certainly not something to rush, the sooner you can finalise your itinerary the better. There is no perfect method. To put it briefly – All you need to decide is where you want to go and what you want to do, how long you can afford to be away, and how much you can afford to spend.

Be sure to consider all expenses apart from travel such as visas, insurance, vaccinations (depending on the holiday destination), clothing (we all like to look our best on holidays), accommodation, entertainment, food and beverages.

If you take the time to sort out your budget in advance, it will help you keep your travel expenses in check, and you can avoid returning home to lengthy credit card bills!

Don’t delay your happiness

Sometimes your holidays come around sooner than you are done saving for it. You may have a good income and be a good saver, but the downside of a savings-only approach is that it takes time. In such times, there can be good reasons to pay for your holiday with a credit card or personal loan.

Here’s why:

  • This is your dream vacation. You certainly do not want to disappoint your family who have been eagerly awaiting this trip. If you are falling short of cash, a small short-term debt may have little impact on your personal finances.
  • Airlines and travel agencies may offer limited-period deals that are too good to miss. The amount you save in discounts can be much more than the interest costs.
  • Getting your holiday to coincide with your friends or family members time-off is a tough task. If planned in months in advance, it is possible. But you may not want to back out if you are falling short of cash just before the trip.

So do not hesitate to fund your holiday with a personal loan or credit card.

Make the most of credit card or debit card deals

While credit cards are useful to cover unplanned expenses, it can help you to cut costs as well. Always be on the lookout for credit card deals. Premium credit cards or Co-branded credit cards with specific airlines can help you earn flying miles or reward points that can cover the cost for flight tickets. Depending on the amount you spend each year, you may also be eligible for a free flight ticket.

Do check out Axis Bank Vistara Credit Cards & Miles & More Credit Card here.

But earning miles and reward points is just one benefit. You can avail of multiple travel offers by using your credit card or even your debit card. With your card, you become eligible for a host of discounts on booking flights, hotel stays, and even car rentals (when travelling to the airport). Plus, you are also eligible for exclusive EMI offers.

Check out the offers on Axis Bank Credit Cards and Debit Cards here.

Don't forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a product that provides you with financial protection, as well as the all-important peace of mind, in case of accidents, unforeseen medical costs, flight or accommodation cancellations, and the loss or theft of your belongings (e.g. suitcases, handbags, or electronic devices).

If you have not put Travel Insurance on your to-do list, then it’s something to add. This is because, if something happens while you are on holiday, having travel insurance will mean you will not need to dig into your pocket or other savings to cover those medical expenses or delayed travel costs.

There are different types of travel insurance covers available. Do check a policy that suits your needs.

Find the right travel insurance before take-off! – Explore Axis Bank’s Travel Insurance Plans.

Opt for Foreign Currency & Travel Cards

It is inescapable—no matter how much you love plastic and a slim wallet, you will need cash when you travel. Even though card facilities are widely accepted around the world, most locals may insist on cash.

As per FEMA guidelines, you can carry up to US$ 2,000 or equivalent. This works out to Rs 1.30 lakh approximately. Foreign exchange rates vary on a daily basis and the mark-up (fee) will differ from one institution to another. Make sure you get the best rates available before you exchange your rupees.

Start looking a few weeks (or even months) before your trip, and give yourself time to shop around and compare rates to make sure you get the best deal possible.

As much as possible, avoid exchanging at the airport. Though it may give the convenience of last minute exchange, it comes at a high cost in the form of less favourable exchange rates and additional fees.

You can apply for foreign currency cash at any of Axis Bank branches.

Carrying too much cash can be risky. While Travellers Cheques are another alternative, a much safer and convenient option is to use Travel Currency Cards or Multi-Forex Cards. Unlike cash if your card is lost or stolen, you can block it immediately. And you can use your card anywhere, unlike Travellers Cheques that can be honoured only at authorised money exchangers.

While your existing International Debit Card or Credit Card may also do the same job, you may get hit with a currency conversion fee and fluctuating exchange rates. If you plan to make many cashless transactions, Travel Cards will be a cost-friendly option.

With locked-in exchange rates on your Travel Card, you will be paying lower fees and can make your payments abroad at the rate you loaded or reloaded your card.

Now let’s take a look at these options in a bit more detail:

Travel Currency Cards

Travel Currency Cards, also known as Prepaid Travel Cards, International Travel Cards or just Travel Cards. These are prepaid foreign currency cards in which you can load a cash balance in specific foreign currency denominations.

Using your Travel Card, you can shop at any merchant that accepts Visa or MasterCard. Alternatively, you can withdraw cash from any ATM accepting Visa & MasterCard. You get 24x7 access to your money.

Using Axis Bank Travel Currency Cards, you can directly swipe your Travel Currency Card without any transaction fee at merchant establishments accepting Visa/MasterCard, saving you the hassle of carrying cash while on the move. You also get a comprehensive insurance of Rs 3 lakh that covers fraudulent usage on your Travel Currency Card due to lost/stolen/counterfeit cards.

In addition, you can avail of special offers on your Axis Bank Travel Currency Card

When you are back from your trip, you can get your balance encashed.

Read here to know more about the features, benefits and eligibility criteria for Axis Bank Travel Currency Cards

Multi-Currency Forex Cards

If visiting multiple countries on your trip abroad, opt for a Multi-Currency Forex Card. You can use one single card across the globe. Multiple currencies can be loaded on the same card, thus eliminating the need to carry multiple Travel Cards for different destinations.

At Axis Bank, you get an option to choose a Contactless Forex Card or an Image Forex Card.

Most of the features and benefits remain the same as the Travel Currency Cards. Read here to know more about Axis Bank’s Multi-Currency Forex Card.

If you are planning a long trip or if you travel frequently abroad, you can opt for Axis Bank’s World Traveller Forex Card that comes with many more features and benefits.

Keep a tab on your baggage weight

While most travellers prefer to travel light, when travelling with family and their extensive shopping lists, there are chances that your flight baggage allowance may tip the scales up.

It can be very challenging to figure out the exact weight of your luggage before you get to the airport to check-in. The potential embarrassment and inconvenience of finding out you have excess baggage, over the allotted weight, is enough to fill any passenger with dread.

While most international flights allow 30 kgs for cabin baggage, domestic flights provide only upto 15 kgs of baggage allowance. If you are changing flights from international to domestic, the excess baggage can create an impediment.

Hence, it will be prudent to keep a hand-held weighing scale at your disposal.

Airlines can also be very fussy about the dimensions of your luggage, specifically for cabin baggage. Before you start you trip, do check these details with the airlines or your travel agent.

If you know you are travelling with excess baggage, it will be better to pay for the additional weight in advance, rather than submitting to the overpriced rates at the airport.

Many travel to shopping destinations like Dubai and Thailand. Apart from keeping a tab on your baggage weight, do keep yourself abreast with the duty-free allowances and entitlements. There is a restriction on gold and silver in any form, and other goods. Do check these details with a travel agent.

Leave copies of your documents

Last but not the least; it is a good practice to leave full-colour copies of all your key travel documents with someone you trust back home and a few copies in your travel bags. This includes your travel itinerary, important contact numbers, passport, visas, and travel insurance. You may never know when it may come handy.

To conclude…

These tips are just a few of the ways you can avoid any inconvenience, unnecessary expenses, and enjoy some extra spending money while you are on holiday. Use the financial options available to your advantage. Enjoy every bit of your holiday and create memorable moments.

Bon voyage!

Disclaimer: This article has been authored by PersonalFN, a Mumbai based Financial Planning and Mutual Fund research firm known for offering unbiased and honest opinion on investing. Axis bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank & PersonalFN shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.

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All you need to decide is where you want to go and what you want to do, how long you can afford to be away, and how much you can afford to spend.

 

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