CALL YOUR BANK BEFORE YOU LEAVE Let your bank know which countries you’ll pass through (you don’t want transactions declined due to unusual activity’!) and note their number in case you need to call them. Every time you draw, there’s a fee, so you might want to draw the max each time. Pick ATMs with low or no fees. THE BEST WAY TO CARRY MONEY IS… Travellers cheques, travel wallet, credit or debit card? Older clients prefer travellers cheques as they can be refunded if stolen or lost,’ says Sharmila. But these are being phased out, Kim points out. You’re charged commission to buy and redeem them, unless you get Amex and change them at an Amex branch -a schlepp to find. Young travellers prefer a travel wallet as their parents can transfer money to it! But most clients prefer to buy foreign exchange,’ says Sharmila. DON’T PAY IN RANDS You should get bills in the currency of the country you’re visiting, says Sharmila. If you’re offered dynamic currency conversion (when you’re about to pay with your credit card, you have the choice of seeing the amount in rands), decline. Sure, you’d understand the damage better, but in general the exchange rate is less favourable than it is without that service’.
When I went to London, I adjusted the settings on my phone so I’d only get messages, notifications and emails in free wifi zones. I didn’t upload photos or videos, or use Facebook, twitter, Google, Instagram or Snapchat on site as they chew data – I waited till I found a cafe or restaurant with a sign on the window saying free wifi. And I used whatsapp for calls. – Chelsea Johnstone, features writer SPEAK TO YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER Before you go, discuss the services you need, and the attendant roaming rates. They offer services that minimise the expense. He says that, for R30 per day, their Travel Saver package provides roaming at reduced rates in 27 countries. If you don’t want to use data roaming, switch it off, advises Tshepo. Select Settings’>’Gener-al’>’Network’>’Data Roaming’. Disable automatic app refreshes or updates to prevent large data downloads. And if you’re on a BlackBerry, BBM isn’t free like it is back home – you’ll be billed at the data roaming rate. Ouch. Divert incoming calls to voicemail before you leave, says Tshepo. You’ll still be able to make calls. You could buy a SIM card at your destination, but then it’s a hassle to give friends and family your new number.