I’m pretty sure a lesson in managing your finances wasn’t what they specifically had in mind when they said that travel really opens your mind and makes for an invaluable education, but hey, we live, we travel and we learn, so I’ll definitely take the financial lessons I’ve learned through travel! What I’m specifically talking about here are currency conversions, which if you’re a frequent traveller can incur some fees that will make your eyes water when you think that you could have rather used that money to perhaps stay an extra day or two at a particular destination which you could never get enough of.
It’s definitely a topic I might have touched on in the past and it’s also one I’ll revisit again in the future, but for now I can only share what I’ve come to learn so far about currency conversions and how you can save quite a bit of money on them.
Bitcoin perhaps comes to mind with the first mention of cryptocurrencies and it is indeed a great way to make payments related to the organisation of your trips, quite simply because there is very little red-tape associated with completing payments. In fact, one could go as far as saying that there is no red-tape because the traditional banking institutions aren’t involved. I really hope more and more travel related service providers will start accepting Bitcoins as a form of payment because you can essentially load up your virtual wallet and in so doing convert your local fiat currency into more of a universal currency, after which time there are no fees for making transactions. So you won’t get charged foreign exchange fees as long as the accommodation you’re booking or the travel agent you’re using accepts the cryptocurrency as a form of payment, because I’m yet to come across an airline that does.
Gold and Preloaded Credit Cards
I still don’t really get why they’re called credit cards if they only work on the basis of first being loaded with the money you can use through them, but hey, I guess the fact that every other aspect of theirs has them functioning just like a credit card, particularly in terms of accessibility qualifies them as credit cards. So anyway, I’m talking about a specific platform here in the form of GoldMoney. Basically you can buy gold and then transfer that gold into physical gold you can have delivered right to your door, or you can transfer its value into currencies such as British pounds, Swiss francs, US dollars, and Euros, apparently with more currencies in the pipeline.
The advantage of being able to do this is that whenever you make payments for any services related to your travels, you use the local currency straight from the corresponding preloaded card and in that way save a tonne of money in cross border, currency conversion fees. Some Indian Ocean destinations quote their prices in Euros for example, in which case you would pay for your bookings with your Euro card and incur absolutely no fees whatsoever.
Similarly, you could perhaps book a flight using a Swiss-based online booking platform which quotes their prices in francs, which means if you use your Swiss francs denominated prepaid card, you incur no fees.