Securing Your Currency Overseas

Saving money while overseas shouldn’t always equate to scrimping (though finding great deals and discounts is always a surefire way to stay in the green). Sometimes, it also has to do with using the right currency.

Using your credit or debit card while overseas can result in some
exorbitant charges
like transaction fees. Most banks make consumers pay a percentage of their total purchase, while others have a set minimum amount to be paid as a transaction fee. Even the use of ATMs entails a charge for every transaction made. Instead of incurring all of these unnecessary charges, it’s more advisable to use cash for any and all transactions made overseas.

You may think that getting cash from an ATM is the obvious choice – after all, ATMs can article-2187285-14832612000005DC-869_306x423
take your money and convert it to the local currency, right? Well, unbeknownst to many, ATMs can be quite unreliable when it comes to currency conversion as well. The same goes for credit and debit cards which ask you whether you’d like to be charged in the local currency or your home currency – a decision that seems harmless enough, until you realize how arbitrary their exchange rates are. Instead, a great choice is preordering your currency, and collecting it at your destination.

The process of preordering currency is quite simple: you contact one of the many companies that offer such a service and buy the local currency from them using your home currency, and you collect it from a set point once you arrive at your destination. Most major airports now offer currency services as well, so you can secure your finances the minute you land. Gatwick Airport, which is described by Parking4less as the tenth busiest airport in Europe with 30 million passengers serviced per year, has secured the services of Moneycorp to provide preorder currency to their passengers. Passengers can avail of free exchange rate protection and even pay on collection, so they can rest assured that they’re getting the best deals on local currency.

Just make sure to make your arrangements for buying currency ahead of time. Moneycorp requires 24 hours’ notice, and most airports will also charge more for walk-in customers who haven’t made previous arrangements to buy local currency.

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Five Incredible Places to Visit in the Philippines

 

 

Looking for a destination to add in your bucket list? You might want to consider visiting the Philippines next. Here are some of the great places that tell you why…

 

Batanes

Batanes

Located at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, Batanes is an island province in the Cagayan Valley region which is frequently ravaged by typhoon. Moreover, it has stood the test of time becoming more breathtaking as it was before. Batanes is a home of the Basco Lighthouse, stocky stone houses, endless rolling hills, white-sand beaches and stunning coasts where waves gracefully crash. You can rent a bike around the ancient villages that display the Spanish rule or just sit in one of those hills getting lost while viewing the dramatic scenery in front of you. Batanes has unique culture to discover and you should not miss it. A piece of heaven, it definitely is.

Underground River, Palawan

Underground River, Palawan

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River or Underground Rives is a UNSECO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is said to be the longest navigable river in the world covering a distance of 8.2 kilometers. The river passes through St. Paul Underground River Cave and underneath a mountain range. There are also other islands in Palawan that is known for their gorgeous white sand beaches and snorkeling areas. Island hopping at Honda Bay, Coron and El Nido is also a must-try.

Boracay Island

Boracay Island

Crystal clear waters, fine white sand, fun water activities, romantic sunsets and amusing nightlife– these are the reasons why Boracay is one of the top destinations in the Philippines. With four kilometers of powder white sand, anyone would enjoy bathing under the heat of the sun. Because a lot of tourists across the globe visit the island every year, Boracay has variety of food choices that people can enjoy ranging from American, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, French, Swiss, Italian and Moroccan food. Various resorts are also sprouting in the island and whether you are a budget traveler or a luxury one, you would find a place that you can afford. Budget accommodation starts US $17 and you can go all the way to US $300 per person at primary resorts.

Heritage City of Vigan

Heritage City of Vigan

Vigan is one of the top 21 finalists for the New 7 Wonders- Cities in the World. It has been one of the top tourist destinations in the country because of its Spanish-era architectural structure and rich culture. There are many things to do in the city which includes exploring Calle Crisologo, visiting Father Burgo’s House and the Syquia Mansion, cruising the Mestizo River, tasting local foods, climbing up the Bell Tower and riding the carriage which is a primary mode of transportation in Vigan. Learn more about how Vigan came to be by paying a visit to this place in your next travel.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol

 

Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Just hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last year, Bohol remains to be a top destination in the Philippines. One of Bohol’s highlights is the Chocolate Hills in Carmen. This tourist spot covers more than 1, 268 grass-covered limestone domes that looks green in rainy season and turns chocolate brown during dry season. You can also tour the hills riding an ATV. Now, there are extreme adventures that people can enjoy in the site as well, including zip line and bike on air passing through the hills. Bohol is also the home of the smallest primate in the world, the tarsiers.

These are just 5 of the many travel destinations in the Philippines that you can discover, explore and enjoy. Indeed, true to what the country’s tourism industry promotes, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”.

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The Best Airlines for Travel with Kids

As a mother who frequently travels the globe with her two children, I have had the fortune (and in some cases, misfortune) of flying on many of the world’s major carriers.  Over the years, I have certainly made my picks for best airlines to travel on with kids and do my best to book tickets on those airlines, particularly for long journeys.

A couple of notes before we start:

Duration Matters:

For flights under three hours, I will usually just go with the cheapest, most reliable airline with most convenient flying times. It’s over three hours that service starts to matter.

Status Helps:

Due to my husband’s work travels, we are Star Alliance Gold members which makes it hugely convenient because we can check in extra bags for free, use the lounge, and check in at the business class counter even when traveling economy. In today’s world of zero customer service on airlines, it’s nice to have an airline be nice to you.

The Best Airlines for Travel with Kids:

(In no particular order):

Singapore Airlines:  Singapore Airlines understands that children are part of our society and that it’s in everyone’s interest to make them comfortable on a flight. SQ traditionally has been a leader, flying the newest and swankiest planes, which means that the kids get the best pick of movies and video games, in addition to toys, coloring, and other activities.  Their Yummy! Meals service is exclusive to kids and allows them to choose from a range of popular favorite and healthy dishes.

The customer service is excellent too. They once damaged my stoller and the reimbursement process was absolutely painless. There is much to be said for an airline that is not trying to short change its customers. With the Kris Flyer program, kids can start earning precious miles at 2 years of age.

Emirates Airways: The Young Flyers section on the Emirates website will show you just how important kids are to them. Emirates is know for its state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system, their child-friendly customer service, and their loaner strollers at Dubai Airport. Always a pleasant journey.  Skysurfers can earn miles and get special privileges like preferred seating.

Lufthansa Airlines: German carrier Luftansa goes above and beyond for families. I was once traveling when I was pregnant and the stewardess made it a point to check on my frequently and to give me a large bottle of water to ensure I stay hydrated. Lufthansa’s website details tips for families, including specific travel regulations by country, which I have not seen elsewhere.

Etihad Airlines: Etihaad’s “Flying Nanny” service puts it a notch above the rest, showing parents that this airline understands their needs for rest and comfort too. Kids are also treated to an entertainment pack, tons of movie and games options, and nutritious meals. Etihad’s miles program, Etihad Guest, was designed with families in mind, letting families’ pool together all their miles for anyone’s use. Makes you wonder why all mileage programs aren’t structured like that.

So the next time you are traveling with kids and have the opportunity to fly any of the above airlines, take it! You’ll see how it makes a world of a difference!

Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan is the founder of Momaboard.com, a website that specializes in family travel.

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Credit Card Myths Debunked (#ThrowBack Thursday)

There are many different credit card myths that convince people to avoid lines of credit like the plague. Discovering the truth may convince you that a credit card can actually be beneficial in some circumstances.

Credit Card Company Owners are Crooks

This credit card myth is just plain senseless. It’s impossible to lump all credit card companies and executives into a single category. The revelation that one credit card company was using dishonest practices to abuse customers does not mean that all credit card companies are engaged in similar practices. Credit card companies come in many different shapes, sizes, and methods of operation.

Your job is to do your research, compare and then decide on which credit card company you’d trust before signing up with any of them.

Credit Cards Always Create Financial Disaster

Credit cards do not always spell financial ruin for customers. The ruin comes from misusing a credit card, failing to make payments on time, or accumulating a sum of debt that is simply too large to be paid back effectively. If credit cards are used responsibly and sparingly, they can actually be quite beneficial to a person’s financial outlook.

Credit cards can improve one’s credit score, spread payments for large items over several months, and offer a solution in the event of an emergency. To enjoy the benefits though, ensure that you pay your balance in full at the end of every month. This will shield you from compounding interest rates on the card as well as late repayment charges.

Beware that credit card interest rates are higher compared to other forms of debt such as mortgages, car loans etc.

Credit Card Interest Rates are Always Too High

There are credit cards with shockingly high interest rates, but these credit cards are not the norm. Interest rates are determined by industry standards, and labeling these rates as “too high,” is failing to take into account the globally accepted industry practices.

Credit Card Perks are Worthless

One common credit card myth that needs to be discussed is the myth that credit card perks are really just worthless incentives used to convince ignorant customers to choose a specific credit card. Of course, there are some credit card perk programs that fail to offer anything of real value to the customer.

This isn’t the case with most perk programs, however. For example, credit cards that work with airlines to offer the accumulation of airline miles are actually offering something quite valuable to the consumer. Capital One is one of the most well-known credit cards with airline benefits.

With this card, you can accumulate miles through regular use of the card, and then you are able to use those miles whenever and however you wish.

Conclusion

The credit card industry is plagued by myths and false accusations. It’s important for a consumer to make his or her own decisions about the credit card industry before deciding to never open a line of credit. And at the end of the day, its you who is solely responsible for the use of that credit card. You determine whether it will be for your good or if it will lead to debt.

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Weekly Roundup – How To Avoid Credit Card Debt

Credit card are considered evils of our society, things that should be avoided at all costs. Why? Because they can lead to serious debt. Quite a number of people struggle under a load of Credit Card Debts. This is because they keep on purchasing goods and services without realizing that they are over spending thus they end up accumulating huge debts which mostly they struggle to pay. There are some steps you can follow to make sure you don’t get into credit card debt.

Charge only what you can afford

Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford. This might sound obvious, though it is a common trap that many fall in to. If you wouldn’t spend cash on something, why buy it with a credit card? After all, the day will come when you need to spend that cash to pay off your card, so always think twice before charging a large purchase.

Have an emergency fund

Set aside emergency fund to cater for unplanned emergencies that may arise rather than using credit card that might accumulate huge debt.

Create your own budget

Come up with your own budget based on the amount you posses and strictly adhere to the budget. Let every purchase you make with your credit card not forgetting their hidden charges be within your budget.

Pay on time

Pay your balance each month. If you can pay off the balance of your credit card statement each month, you will avoid paying interest charges. Interest and fees are really where credit cards get expensive, so avoiding paying interest at all costs.

Use Prepaid cards

Use a prepaid card whenever you’re shopping. By using prepaid cards, you get a particular amount of money to spend and you don’t have to worry about overreaching your credit limit.

Leave your credit card at home

Leave your card at home when you go shopping. Unless you know for certain thing you’re going to buy using the card, there is no need to take it with you. This will completely take the temptation of using the card for a spur of the moment purchase completely out of the equation.

Avoid cash advances

Avoid using credit cards for cash advances as they attract higher interest transaction fee and you don’t get a grace period.

What is your approach in avoiding credit card debts? Let’s us know in the comments below.

Amazing Reads of the Week

Life After Debt: Planning Ahead For Our Debt Free Future – Disease Called Debt

Top 10 Summer Memories – Financially Blonde

The Four Stages of Financial Independence – The Simple Dollar

If You’re Going To Succeed, You Have To Have a Plan! – Enemy of Debt

Defined Contribution Plans: Why Opting Out Shouldn’t Be An Option – Boomer and Echo

Luzern and a Novel Approach to History Interpretation – Elizabeth M. Covart

Challenges of A Traveling College Student – Twenty-something Travel

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