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"Don't get burned on holiday this year" - NCA

23 June 2010

The National Consumer Agency today advised consumers going abroad this summer to do a little financial planning before their trip, with top tips to help them make the most of their money.

Chief Executive of the NCA Ann Fitzgerald said, "When it comes to holidays, it's easy to spend more than planned, but a little bit of financial planning can make all the difference. If you plan to use your cards, it pays to do some research on the costs for making payments and withdrawing cash abroad.

"In particular, we would advise people to be careful about using credit cards to withdraw cash on holidays. Not only will you pay cash advance fees, you will also pay currency conversion fees if you take out non-euro currency. On top of that many credit card providers charge you interest from the day you take out the money - so there is no interest-free period for cash withdrawals. This can add considerably to the total cost of your holiday."

The tips include:

  • There are many different types of travel insurance policy and terms and conditions will differ depending on the provider, so always check carefully before you buy and make sure you are happy with the level of cover offered and any exclusions that apply. If you have private health insurance, you are probably already covered for illness and injury, so check your policy before you buy, so that you don't end up paying for insurance you don't need
  • If you work out a budget before you go, then you can still have a good time, without the worry of a huge bill when you return home. If you're not sure where to start, use the budget planner on NCA.ie to see how much you can afford to spend
  • You'll usually pay a percentage or fee when you buy something or take out money from a cash machine, so if you plan to use your cards, make sure you check the charges in advance, that way you can make an informed decision. You can get more details in the current account and credit card cost comparisons on NCA.ie. Also, if you plan to use your cards, it's a good idea to let your credit card company know, so that any overseas spending won't set off alarm bells
  • If you're planning to get a personal loan, it's important to shop around for a good rate and try to get as short a term as possible, ideally one year. If you go for a longer term, you could find that you're still paying for this year's holiday when the next one comes around
  • Bear in mind that what looks like a great deal could end up being more expensive than you think, if charges like airport tax and supplements aren't included. So be sure to ask what the total cost will be
  • If things don't go to plan and you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, check your policy to see whether you need to do anything before you return home, for example you may be required to get a police report if you are making a claim for stolen items. And when you return, send in your claim as soon as possible, as there may be a time limit for making claims