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Half term holiday chaos

This week, widespread cancellations and delays at UK airports have frustrated holiday plans for thousands of Brits, with providers Tui and Easyjet hit hardest by the disruption.

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With travel chaos expected to continue throughout the week, it’s vital you get your holiday plans sorted ahead of time. Check out the below tips from experts at money.co.ukon how to protect your finances while soaking up the sun. 

James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “While many Brits are gearing up for their first foreign holiday in years, staffing issues with major providers are seeing massive delays to travel plans. 

“With lengthy queues creating extra travel stress across the board, the last thing you need is a last minute rush to sort your foreign currency, or realise your planned airport pick up is now on the wrong day. 

“One way to escape this problem is a travel credit card. While plastic can’t fully replace cash, it can be used in most shops and restaurants without a fee and means the amount of money you need to exchange ahead of time can be drastically reduced.

“Try to find a card that gives you one or more of the following benefits: no foreign transaction fees, no cash withdrawal fees and/or a lower interest rate on cash withdrawals. If you choose wisely then you can get almost-perfect exchange rates and cashback of up to 1%.

“Additional perks include spending rewards like travel incentives or vouchers, in addition to competitive exchange rates and purchase protection under Section 75, which allows you to claim the cost of your order back if there’s an issue - as long the value is between £100 and £30,000.

“If you’re looking for a safer option, or you’ve been denied a credit card, you should consider a prepaid travel card or an overseas debit card. Unlike a travel credit card, both need to be preloaded with cash for spending abroad, in the same way you’d use a debit card in the UK.

“Prepaid travel cards and overseas debit cards pose less risk because they’re pre-loaded, meaning you can’t overspend and go into debt - making them a good choice if you’re on a tight budget.

“However, while an overseas debit card may offer cashback or reduced fees, you are unlikely to receive the competitive rates and perks that you can with a travel credit card, while prepaid cards generally offer little to no added incentives.

“It’s not essential to use a travel or prepaid card when spending abroad, as most standard credit and debit cards can be used, however, you’ll be charged for the privilege. Each time you use your usual card, you can expect to pay a flat fee of around £1, as well as a transaction fee of around 3%.

“When it comes to cash, you need to be careful. Using the bureau de change at the airport in the UK is almost always the most expensive option - and can delay your journey even more.

“If you do want some local currency in your pocket, which is a good idea, exchange your GBP before travelling or even do a little research and see if there are ATMs at your destination airport you could use instead. Even after a foreign transaction fee, using a debit card in one of these is likely to work out cheaper than buying travel money at an airport bureau de change.

“However, in this day and age the benefits offered by other options such as the travel credit card, like protection on your purchases and the best rares, makes it the preferred choice for many. 

“To compare the best deals from all the top providers, use money.co.uk’s comparison tool here: https://www.money.co.uk/credit-cards/credit-cards-with-no-foreign-transaction-fees.”


About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.