Steve and Glo's travel tips

Useful stuff we've learnt on the road

Get "free" travel insurance

Posted 11 months 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 11 months 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.