Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012 – what I am calling the year of the Mouse… even if it is really the year of the Dragon… Sorry for the lack of posts recently but I have been a little busy but my new year’s resolution is for much more blogging so hopefully this will be the start of the new me.
Over the festive period I have started to think about some of the practicalities of going away for a year – After going away with the family over new year I have realised I need a new suitcase for one thing, more on that in a later post and I also realised I am going to need a way to use my UK savings without having to take over a suitcase full of cash!
When you are working as part of one of the programs you get paid on to a payroll card which is basically a prepaid visa card which you can use anywhere they accept Visa, which in the states is pretty much anywhere – even taxis take card. The only minor problem with it is that you only get one free cash withdrawal per week – I am not much of a cash guy so it is not too much of a problem but some people don’t like it very much. The big problem is spending savings in my UK account – my bank, who shall remain nameless, charge £1 per transaction and give a terrible exchange rate if you pay for something in dollars so that is not ideal. In 2009 I took a travel money card from Lloyds TSB and it worked really well, again it did not have free cash withdrawals but I could manage just paying by card when I needed to. Unfortunately they have stopped doing the card so I have had to look around again.
It would seem there are 3 main contenders – shown in the table below. I am going for FairFX since they give the best exchange rates but they do charge for ATMs – I have included the others in case any of my readers are interested and want to be able to get free ATM withdrawals. Bear in mind that the rates are not as good though.
FairFX US Dollar Card
FREE if you use the link below - normally $9.95
Best exchange rates - Not great for cash
CaxtonFX US Dollar Traveller
Free usage including ATMs
Travelex Cash Passport
Free but rates can be dodgy
That is one thing ticked of the list at least. I am off to look for luggage in the sales at some point later this week, I will blog when I have found something.