I'm leaving nz next weekend for a trip to the uk. Flying direct but with a stop over for a fee hours at hk airport. I'm also going to italy for a week. Do I take all my cash ( pounds and euros) with me when I leave nz? Or do I use my Visa card while away and use ATMs if I need cash, or do I use a " loaded for travel" type cash passport? Just not sure which us the best option?
Bring your Visa, with debit card(s) for cash. I usually bring $100 US as a back up (have never needed to use it), but hit the ATM as soon as I arrive at my destination.
It would not be efficient for poster to convert NZD to USD for travel to the UK and Italy. Use the Visa and or ATM favoring the most advantage in terms of fees and conversation to NZD. I'm guessing that the airport FX kiosks would convert NZD to GBP or EUR at a big mark up if you need pocket cash before getting to a bank served ATM/cash machine. Usual foreign travel notifications probably apply to NZ financial institutions. Back up bank cards and credit cards are a good idea.
Take your credit card & your ATM card. One does not need to worry about exchange rates & you are paying (credit card) in the local currency.
I am like another poster in that I carry $100 as a backup. Use your euros & pounds in that capacity if you wish.
I should add that you should bring 20 or 100 NKD notes to the UK. The Brits should recognize the Queen. If needed, you could change some NZD to EUR at Heathrow in case the Italians don't recognize their Queen.
Preloaded cards come with lots of fees. Your regular debit card will work fine, as long as you inform your bank that you will be using it abroad (and where and when). Same goes for your credit card. Make sure your issuer knows you will be traveling. Otherwise, they might be blocked for suspected fraudulent use.
Use your credit card for purchases (hotels dinners bigger ticket items) and ATM card for cash. Cash advances in your credit card are possible but very expensive and should only be used as a last resort.
Because I work at a bank and have seen the worst case scenarios (no one ever calls from vacation and says "Hey just wanted to let you know everything is working!") I always suggest landing with the money in local currency you will need for two days in case there is an issue with your ATM card.
can't see what advantage there would be in converting NZ dollars to euros in the UK.
To clarify, the advantage to bringing NZD is converting after arrival ONLY if you have problems obtaining local currency from the cash machine using your ATM card. Your bank ATM withdrawal should give you the most advantageous source of local currency. Fees and exchange rate will depend on your particular financial institution's rules. Here in the States, obtsing Euros or GBP is expensive compared to ATM withdrawals after arrival. Again, bring NZD as emergency money and you can always spend it back home at no exchange cost.
Here is Rick's page of money tips. Read all the links, and you'll be an expert: http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money
"obtsing Euros or GBP is expensive compared to ATM withdrawals after arrival."
A lot depends on you bank. ATM cards can charge anywhere from 0% to a little over 4%. Major banks like Chase and USBank charge 3% for currency exchange plus about $5 for a withdrawal that is limited to $500, or a little over 4%. Locally, I can get Euro for about 5% over from my local Wells Fargo. It's comforting to know when I arrive that I have enough cash for a few days expenses.
Don't forget to notify your bank(s) and credit card companies when and where you will be traveling or they may freeze your accounts thinking it is fraud. It is just a simple phone call and some might have that option on their websites.
There have been times when we have traveled to Europe that the institution(s) have increased the daily limit for cash withdrawals for that time period.
Have a Great Trip.
The Bank of New Zealand has reasonable exchange rates but does charge a 10 NZD fee for each currency:
At today's rate 09 AIG BNZ sells:
100 EUR = 170.88 NZD
100 GBP = 211.88 NZD
These rates include the fee of 10 NZD for each currency. Also check for delivery charges if you can't get to their financial center.
Given the above, see Harold's link. RS says:
**Don’t buy foreign currency in advance. Some tourists just have to have euros or pounds in their pockets when they step off the airplane, but smart travelers don’t bother and know better than to get lousy stateside exchange rates. Wait until you arrive at your destination; I’ve never been to an airport in Europe that didn’t have plenty of ATMs.
My standard procedure is the same as LeAnn's and Collette's: Visa card, ATM card, a little "home" cash tucked away in cash machines aren't working one day.
THANKS TO EVERYONE for all your helpful tips and advice. This is a great way for a "virgin" traveller to get advice, especially way down under.