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The ultimate overseas travel checklist – organise your finances

12 December 2023
• 4 minute read
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It seems Australians’ love of overseas travel has well and truly recovered from the COVID era. According to the latest figures, there were 1,589,500 international departures in September 2023 alone – that’s an annual increase of 53%.

Despite this evident enthusiasm to explore the world, one thing people sometimes forget to check in the excitement of an upcoming trip is that their banking is travel-ready.

And while it might seem like a minor issue, the consequences can be anything but. Put it this way, there isn’t much that’ll kill your holiday mood quicker than finding yourself in a foreign country with no local currency and bank cards that don’t work.

So, before you book the Uber to the airport, here’s a travel checklist to ensure your finances are in order.

Let us know your travel plans

While you’ll no doubt want to make your friends jealous with details of your forthcoming trip, it’s a good idea to let your bank know too. Why? Because it’s no fun discovering your cards have been frozen due to ‘suspicious’ charges from another country.

Simply send us a secure message via online banking before you leave, and you’ll be good to go (literally).

Prepare both cards and cash

Although we use the folding stuff less and less these days, it’s important to remember that cash remains king in many parts of the world. So, depending on which country you’re going to, you might struggle to find a cab from the airport that’ll take cards, for example.

And then there are places where tipping is more or less compulsory, like the States. While cards are welcome pretty much everywhere, you’ll still need a decent stash of dollar bills to show your culturally-mandated appreciation for waiters, bellboys etc.

Even if neither of the above applies, it’s a wise move to organise a small amount of local currency before you arrive - just in case.

Check you have fee-free access to your money

Whether you intend to use cards, cash, or a combination of both, going on holiday can be expensive enough without having to pay to access your own money. Thankfully, some accounts, like the Great Southern Bank Everyday Edge Account, refund international card transaction fees and overseas ATM fees when the eligibility criteria are met.

Given how much these fees can add up, this is definitely worth looking into.

Make sure your cards aren’t close to expiry

Yes, it’s an obvious one. But some things are so obvious that they’re frequently overlooked. Don’t be the person whose card(s) expired while they were overseas.

Set up your online banking

Online banking is a great way to keep tabs on your account and track your spending. You can also easily move money around to where it’s needed and set up scheduled payments, so no bills go unpaid.

And should the unthinkable happen and your card is lost or stolen, you can cancel it or put a temporary block on it quickly and easily via online banking or the app.

Online banking is also a handy tool for staying in touch with your bank should you need to contact them while you’re away.

Pre-book your rental

If you’re planning to rent a car or a camper van while you’re away, booking in advance can save you money, plus precious holiday time at your destination.

It’s also worth checking that your driving license is valid where you’re going, or your holiday might not get out of first gear!

Check your passport and visa validity

Did you know that some countries require you to have six months validity remaining on your passport? The absolute last place you want to find this out is at the airport. You also don’t want to discover that you should have applied for a tourist visa, even for a short trip.

Check your passport expiration date well in advance and find out whether you need a visa for your destination.

We’re here to help

If you’ve got your eye on a particular flight or travel deal but don’t quite have the cash, a Great Southern Bank Personal Loan for travel can mean you don’t miss out.

If approved, you’ll get the funds upfront. Then it’s simply a case of paying off your loan in easy-to-manage repayments.  Plus, there’s no monthly account fee or charges for making extra repayments, freeing up more cash to spend on your travels.

Why not see what your repayments would be with our personal loan calculator?

If you have any questions about our personal loans, feel free to give us a call on 133 282. Alternatively, you can always pop into your local branch for a chat.

Important Information

Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238317. Conditions, fees and charges apply. This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the appropriateness of the information, including the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) booklet, before acting on it. The Financial Claims Scheme may apply to this product; refer to the T&Cs for more information.

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