Most of us probably take quite a bit of effort to plan our holidays and book our air tickets and accommodation. This is an effective way to help us save cost and perhaps, make the most of our limited annual leave to enjoy our holidays to the max. Yet, as often, there can be many unforeseen circumstances that can disrupt our well-planned holidays, and cause us to incur extra cost and charges along the way.
Ever experienced a bill shock after your holiday, be it from your credit card statements or telco bills? There are actually ways to prevent unpleasant surprises like this, if only you knew about what some of these surprises are. Here are 5 common ways travellers unknowingly rack up a huge amount of travel expenses, and how you can prevent them from happening.
1.Mobile Phone charges
Even if you don’t use your phone to make calls, an Internet connection overseas is always useful if you need to find the direction to your hotel or to make bookings. Nowadays, having a mobile data connection for Internet on-the-go is almost a necessity.
The problem is that data roaming can be extremely expensive overseas, easily racking up to over a hundred dollars with a few minutes of data usage. To ensure that you have access to a working connection without paying through your nose, it boils down to the telco you are on, whether you want to change your SIM card, or carry an external Wi-Fi device with you.
To prevent a mobile bill shock, remember to switch off your mobile data when you travel and switch on pay-as-you-roam or use an IDD service to enjoy cheaper rates. The best solution is to get a prepaid SIM, or share a WIFI router as a group for more economical data usage.
2. Loss of Luggage
One of a traveller’s worst nightmares is to lose their luggage on the way. While there’s little you can do to prevent this from happening, you can reduce the damage by purchasing a travel insurance that covers this. This becomes more important if you are travelling with expensive items like camera equipment, laptops, or even winter clothing.
When choosing a travel insurance for such coverage, take into consideration the amount reimbursed for the number of hours your possessions are lost/delayed and the claims limit per person/item.
While you may feel that losing some clothes is no big deal compared to paying the price of a travel insurance policy, think about the inconvenience caused, as well as the cost of replacing other items such as your travel documents or sentimental items that you might carry with you.
3. Credit card charges
Using credit cards while travelling is a common practice amongst Singaporeans; in fact, it is a convenient mode of payment and even allows savvy card-users to earn discounts and rebates.
But using your credit card overseas is not without its perils. You will typically be charged foreign transaction fees the include cross-border transaction fee, foreign exchange fees, as well as a card fee for Mastercard, Visa or Amex. This brings your total fee for overseas transaction to approximately 2.8 to 3%. It may not look like a lot, but 3% on a $1,000 spend is still $30. So how can you overcome this?
While shopping in a foreign country, the merchant will sometimes ask if you want to pay with SGD instead of the local currency. This process is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). You will be charged higher rates with DCC, so stick to paying with the local currency instead.
Using your credit card overseas can also expose you to credit card fraud, especially in countries where card-skimming is common. Or perhaps you’ve got your credit card stolen and unauthorised transactions were made. Directasia’s travel insurance plan will pay up to the limit shown in the summary of limits for the irrecoverable unauthorised charges for which you are made liable for if your credit card is lost or stolen whilst overseas on an insured trip. So remember to get yourself insured before you go – prevention is better than cure!
4. An unfortunate accident
In an ideal world, all of us would like to stay safe and enjoy ourselves during a well-deserved holiday. But no one can tell when an unforeseen road accident can happen. Not only will it cause a disruption to all our holiday plans, there might be financial implications linked to potential cancellations, medical expenses or even the need for emergency repatriation.
In such a situation, it’s always a relief to know that some or all of these expenses will be covered by our travel insurance. Having the right travel insurance with the necessary coverage not only helps to mitigate the potential monetary damage that comes with an accident, it can also take your mind off the financial ramifications so you can concentrate on getting through whatever that has to be done in the moment.
5. Unforeseen Disruption
Nothing can be more of a downer than falling sick or having your holiday plans disrupted by extreme weather events or even train strikes. Such disruptions can mean having to cancel part of your holiday plans, hotel bookings and even cause you to incur extra expenses that were not planned for.
Imagine dealing with an unfortunate snowstorm that causes a flight delay – you’d not only have to miss your flight for an indeterminable amount of time, you might even have to put up in a hotel for a few days until normality returns. This will no doubt add up to a few extra hundreds or even thousands of unplanned expenses, which you’d no doubt have little problem with if you’d signed up for a travel insurance.
Holidays should be a time where you enjoy yourself and relax your mind, why let such circumstances affect you when you can easily mitigate the risks with the steps above? Instead of letting a bill shock ruin your holiday experience, take charge today and protect yourself against unnecessary and unforeseen expenses by getting an annual travel insurance today!