There are lots of ways that you can save money when travelling – in this post we’ll look at the advantage of paying in advance.

When we go on holiday we always choose to book directly rather than through a travel agent (I’ll discuss the reasons for this in a future post)

Many hotels and dive resorts allow you to guarantee the booking with your credit card and then pay at the end of your stay.   For years I have just paid with my credit or debit card not giving too much thought to the cost of the transaction and in particular the exchange rate.

I decided to look into this when I was asked to send a deposit for one resort and realised that we could save a lot of money.



So you ask what’s the problem with paying with your credit or debit card?  The credit card companies & banks will generally give you much lower rate that the published rate  – they have to make their money some how right.  They will also charge you a non-sterling transaction fee which is usually about 2.75 – 3 % of the total transaction.  Some banks will also charge an additional fee of £1 – £1.50 per transaction.  If you pay by card for numerous transactions on holiday this soon adds up. Check with your bank to make sure your using the best card, if you do pay by card, and not paying these additional fees.  Some hotels or resorts will also charge a credit card handling fee this can be an additional 3% its always worth checking when you book so you can plan the best way for you to pay.

Right let’s looks at an example – so  say that I am booked into a dive resort in Malaysia and the stay for 2 of us for a week is 5,500 Malaysian Ringgits (MYR).   The current published online rate today (14/1/17) on is 5.44 MYR to £1 and this converts  to £1,011.03

Example 1:  Paid by credit /debit card whilst on holiday

Ok I choose to pay with my Natwest debit card today.  Their rate today is 5.17 MYR to £1.

The cost of the stay is  5,500 MYR.   The resort charges 3% credit card charge so new total is 5,665 MYR

The bank will now charge you 2.75% non-sterling fee so total is now 5,820.79 MYR

Based on the banks exchange rate this is £1,125.88

Example 2:  Paid in advance

I researched and found the most cost effective way to send money is through a company called transferwise. It was very easy to set up was fast and saved a lot of money.  I would highly recommend it.

So if today I sent 5,500 MYR as a prepayment it will cost £1,019.22 (including the fees). That’s a massive saving of £106.66 compared to using your card to pay on the day.

You can see the advantages right !  There is always a concern that you need to cancel and what happens when you have already paid – well any losses should be covered by your travel insurance.  I have had to cancel before and have always got my money back from the company that I left the deposit with (you may loose a little converting it back).

How to save even more money

I have found another way to get even more back.   For those of you in the UK I am sure you have all heard of the cash back sites there’s a few of them around. (not sure if other countries have these but it’s definitely worth checking).  Such as .  I was always reluctant to sign up thinking there must be a catch but it genuinely works.   I decided to sign up to topcashback.

After signing up I looked up Transferwise on the Top Cashback site and it showed a cash back rate of £15 for any new customers on their 1st transaction. (prices vary and I have checked today and it is £11.50 ).   When I signed up I got the £15 back.  That’s another £15 for doing nothing.

Even better topcashback offers a referral service so if you recommend a friend then you receive a payment back (this amount varies but can be £10-£20). Once you join recommend you partner and you will get the £20 and be able to set up another Transferwise account for the next transaction and have a further £11.50 payback as a new customer (make sure it set up another Transferwise account in different name and different email address).  That’s more money back.

Savings all round – I now try my best to pay in advance using Transferwise when I can. I hope that you liked this  post and that you save lots on you next holiday.

Happy travelling and go tread the globe

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