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3 Financial Tips For the June Travel Season


This article originally appeared on ValuePenguin

June’s busy travel season is right around the corner. You’ve already booked your air tickets and lodging, and have scoped out all the must see places. Although you’ve already dealt with the biggest decisions planning your trip, there are still few important financial decisions that you can make before and while you are overseas. Here are some last minute financial tips before you head out to Changi for your vacation.

Why You Should Use Credit Cards Over Cash Overseas

You may have heard this advice already a number of times: use your credit card while you are overseas. But have you actually considered mathematically if using a credit card really wins over using cash? Our team at ValuePenguin has.

According to our analysis, using a credit card is about 10% to 20% more valuable than using cash overseas. This is because some of the best credit cards yield 5% or more in cash back or miles for every dollar you spend, which can more than offset the exchange rate and transaction fees that banks charge for your card transactions. On the other hand, actually exchanging cash with at a physical location can cost you anywhere between 8% to 20% in exchange rate, since these exchangers have to make a margin on this transaction. Therefore, even if a card transaction involves exchange fees or foreign transaction fees, it still comes out ahead in terms of “net cost” compared to using cash.

Exchange RateTransaction FeeRewards RateTotal
Credit Cards-0.6%-2.5%+5.0%+1.9%

That’s not the only thing. Some credit cards in Singapore even have benefits that transcend geography to other countries. For example, Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card provides discounts on Uber rides globally. Since getting convenient transportation is one of the biggest pain points of travel, benefits like this can be a life-changer that transforms your holiday from good to great.

What Kind of Benefits to Look For in Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is one of the most popular financial products in Singapore. However, you shouldn’t always buy the cheapest product just to get “piece of mind.” Sure, some cheapest products provide basic benefits for medical coverage and trip cancellations, and they may be sufficient for most people. But, even those people could get even more benefits by shopping around for promotional activities by different insurers. For example, HL Assurance is offering discount for overseas Wifi rental on top of their competitive prices, which can be quite helpful for those who can’t live without connectivity.

Not only that, if you are planning to engage in any sports activities like scuba diving in SE Asia or skiing in Australia, you should make sure that your travel insurance policy covers these activities. A great example is FWD and AXA, whose policies cover various sports activities and sports equipments, and still come at some of the most competitive pricing.

Remember to Use Your Miles to Book Your Next Trip Early

If you forgot to use your miles to book your trip this time around, you should definitely remember to do so as soon as possible (ideally on your next trip!). In some countries, 31% of people end up not using their miles at all, and this kind of mistake is easy to commit but quite costly. This is because 1 mile is worth at least S$0.01, and you are literally throwing away your money the longer you wait to redeem these miles. History has shown us that airlines tend to devalue their miles over time, and the additional impact of inflation renders your miles worth less each year even without you doing anything. Therefore, if you’ve built up a balance of miles especially after your upcoming in June, it’s time to start planning early for your next trip in December.

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ValuePenguin is personal finance company based in New York. DJ is responsible for building ValuePenguin's presence in Asia, from researching personal finance topics in the region to building relationships with financial and media institutions. He previously worked as an investment analyst at leading hedge funds in New York including Cadian Capital and Tiger Asia. His expertise is in the global technology, consumer and financial industries. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in Economics, and speaks Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese.
SVP @ ValuePenguin
ValuePenguin.com is a personal finance website that conducts in-depth research and analysis on a variety of topics from credit cards, loans, insurance, budgeting to investing.