Martin Lewis has revealed his top travel tips ahead of the summer holidays - and they could save you hundreds of pounds.

The British money saving expert, 52, discussed travel expenses in a special episode of The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on ITV yesterday evening. 

He revealed the cheapest way to spend abroad and how to get the best deals on travel insurance and car hire, plus the best exchange rate. 

Martin shed light on the pound-stretching tips to keep in mind while using your credit or debit bank cards abroad. 

He said: 'When you are paying in plastic overseas, you always pay in the foreign currency - you do not pay in pounds. 

Using Cards Overseas 

He advised: 'If you pay in pounds, it's the overseas ATM or shop that does the conversion and every time I've tested this - and I've done this many times - it's a pants exchange rate.

'If you pay [in the foreign currency] it is your card that does the conversion. If you're on a specialist card, you get a near-perfect exchange rate. If you're not a specialist card, it's going to cost you three percent but that's still usually better than the overseas machine.'

He explained: 'So if you buy something that cost £100, you pay £103 but there is a whole range of specialist cards that don't add that on top that give you a near perfect exchange rate that the banks do.'

Revealing the 'specialist cards' which give you 'near perfect rates' and 'cash back' he spoke about Chase debit card, Halifax Clarity credit card and Barclaycard rewards card. 

He said: 'You have got Chase which is a debit card but you don't need to switch bank to get it, just an ID check, the others are credit cards so you have to be fully credit scored to access them. 

'All give you near perfect exchange rates and all are interest free spending, with the credit cards make sure you pay it off in full, all are free withdrawals.' 

Martin explained there is an advantage to using credit cards over debit cards saying if you make a big purchase you get 'Section 75 consumer protection'. 

The Consumer Credit Act 1974 that means your credit card provider is jointly and severally responsible for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by a retailer or trader.

Taking Cash Abroad  

Martin also explained how to get the most out of your holiday money if you're looking to take cash abroad. He first suggested comparing rates online, to see where you can get the best deals. 

He said: 'If you just want cash for travelling abroad… go on to a comparison tool and get yourself the best rates. 

He then warned against exchanging your money at the airport, as this always offers 'the worst' rates - however, if you do need to do this, he recommended calling and booking your transaction ahead of time.  

He said: 'So for $1,000, you're going to be paying less than £800 for the best rates, £810 or more on the high street. 

'Do it at the airport and it could cost you up to £950. If you've left it so late that you have to do it at the airport, call them up and pre-book your money - you'll get a better rate.'

Free Cancellation for Hotel and Car Hire 

Martin said getting 'free cancellation' on your car hire is a great idea as prices might drop overtime so you can cancel and rebook at the cheaper rate. 

He said: 'If your hotel or car hire is cheaper now than when you booked and you've got free cancellation, well, keep checking the prices, and if you suddenly find that it's cheaper then cancel and rebook.'

A viewer emailed the show with a success story after taking Martin's advice, saying booking early does not always guarantee the best price.

They said: 'In January 2024, I booked a two week car rent in the US for $1,024. After checking comparison sites in May, I checked back and the same car was available for $575. I cancelled the first booking, had my deposit refunded and rebooked at a lower price.'

Airport Parking 

Martin suggested pre-booking airport parking, using Manchester airport as an example he explained how he managed to save £354.

He said: 'I checked a couple of weeks ago just to prove the point on this. Manchester Airport, if you turned up without booking it would be £400 for the week. 

'Pre-book, even in the same morning and it's £76 for the week. Don't go to the airport and then pay your parking.'

Travel Insurance 

Martin said his number one rule for travel insurance is to get it as soon as you book the trip.  

He explained: 'Half of the point of travel insurance is to cover you in case something happens before you go that means you cannot go. 

So, as long as you've got the cover in place in a single trip, or you might need an annual policy, you will be fine. 

'But, I've already had one this year, they didn't want to be talked about so I'm going to keep it generic, people who get a cancer diagnosis or something really seriously wrong two months before they're going away and they get in touch and the airline won't give money back, they hotel won't give money back. 

'I say, 'use your travel insurance' and they say they were going to get their travel insurance later… ASAB, as soon as you book!' 

Asked what is the best thing to do if your travel insurer won't let you book insurance a year in advance when you are booking a holiday or cruise, Martin suggested to shop around. 

He said: 'There are firms out there that let you book a year ahead…Staysure, Aviva, Direct Line and Churchill, off the top of my head, whether the offer for cruises I’m afraid is one beyond me on a live show, but hopefully you can have a look at those four firms and see if you can book a year ahead. There are definitely firms out there that let you book a year ahead.’ 

Global Health Insurance Cards 

GHIC/EHIC cards Global Health Insurance Cards/European Economic Area allow you to receive treatment in a state run hospital or GP practice at same rate as a local person would.

Martin said: 'Only sign up via – you will never have to pay for one of these and there’s no such thing as a fast-track service, but many online scams claiming there is.' 

He added: ‘If you’re going through the European Union you want a valid EHIC or its replacement the Global Health Insurance Card.

'There are 4.3 million EHIC cards that expire this year. They’re being replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card… what it means is if you’ve got one of those then you get treatment in an EU state-run hospital or GPs at the same cost as a local. So, if they don’t pay, you don’t pay.

‘The most important thing I can say is don’t Google this… there are sites that’ll charge you to get one. It is always free so go to’.

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2024-06-12T08:41:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd