Steve and Glo's travel tips

Useful stuff we've learnt on the road

Get "free" travel insurance

Posted about 2 years ago

Travel insurance for an extended trip like ours (12 months) for 4 people, visiting multiple countries around the world, is pretty expensive.

Rather than paying $2k+ to insure our trip, we upgraded our Commonwealth credit card to a level which included travel insurance for the cost of the card - about $350pa.

Thankfully we haven't had to make a claim yet, but as far as we can tell the insurance is legitimate as it's underwritten by Allianz Insurance.

Our credit card is more expensive than a fee-free card, but less expensive than buying travel insurance, so it seems like a win-win situation.

Don't pay overseas bank fees

Posted about 2 years ago

Not many people know that you don't need to pay extortionate "overseas withdrawal" fees, which your standard bank probably charges. For example, Commonwealth Bank charges $5 + 3% of the withdrawal amount, for every withdrawal. That adds up to a lot of bank fees on an extended overseas trip...

A far better option is to open a fee-free transaction account, which allows you to use overseas ATMs without paying the ridiculous charge.

We have accounts with Citibank in Australia, which provide fee-free access to overseas ATMs. This means we can withdraw small amounts of cash without worrying about paying the fees - even when the ATM warns that it will charge €5, Citibank pays the charge on our behalf.

As far as we can tell, the exchange rate is competitive, and they don't charge a monthly fee for having the account, so overall it seems like a no-brainer to open one.