If you’re jetting off to Croatia or travelling to Nice this summer, this one’s for you. Here, we highlight six travel money hacks you need to know when going abroad, especially if you’re a Starling customer.

1. Don’t exchange cash at the airport

Some of the most rip off exchange rates can be found at airports. If you do want to take a little cash abroad, you could use a high street Exchange bureau that you’ve researched first (compared rates with others), or wait until you’ve arrived at your destination and withdraw cash from a bank ATM.

There are no fees from Starling when you withdraw cash abroad or spend, but local ATM operators sometimes do have fees, so best to keep a lookout for that.

It is, however, worth considering how much cash you really need. Making the most of your payments abroad with a debit card is a lot safer than carrying around stacks of cash.

2. Car hire: A tip for Pay at Pump

If you’ve hired a car and want to fill up on fuel using Pay at Pump, it helps to know that a certain amount on your account could be temporarily frozen to authorise the payment. This process applies to everyone, regardless of who you bank with, and can be between €100 and €150.

Make sure you have sufficient funds in the account you pay for fuel with, as it can sometimes take a few days for the money to be unfrozen.

Paying at a kiosk is often more straightforward as you simply pay for what you’ve put in the car.

Paying fuel at the kiosk can be more straightforward that at the pump

3. Paying in local currency: Avoid bad exchange rates

When you use your Starling card abroad in shops, at restaurants or an ATM, always choose the option to pay in the local currency. This should ensure you get the Mastercard rate, which is likely to be better than the one set by the merchant or the ATM operator.

Starling doesn’t charge fees when you withdraw or pay aboard

4. Virtual cards: Keep holiday spending separate

A virtual card can help keep your holiday money separate from your main balance. It works just like a normal debit card, but there’s no physical card, and you can spend directly from your holiday budget, if you’ve set it aside in a Saving Space. You can create multiple Spaces for whichever things you want to keep money separate for.

5. Emergency supplies

It’s always worth having a few notes in local currency for emergencies or for cafés or markets that only accept cash. That said, it’s not really wise to carry around a lot of cash.

Keep your holiday budget separate from your main account, with a Saving Space

Should issues with your card or account come up, Starling offers 24/7 Customer Service. If you think you’ve lost your card, or it’s been stolen, you can freeze or cancel your card instantly in the app.

6. The UK Global Health Insurance Card

In many countries in Europe, this card entitles you to state healthcare that you might need on the spot, at a reduced cost, or in some cases for free. It doesn’t replace health insurance, but it is really worth having. You can get one for free from the NHS website. If any other site asks you for money to get a card, it’s a scam, they’re free.

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