Dr Moore-Money’s Holiday Clinic

Image of Doctor Moore-Money on a jetski
Dr Moore-Money was a dab hand on a jet-ski
"As the good times roll, it’s very easy to forget about the sting that comes with playing fast and loose with your bank card abroad"
  • | by Kristian Dando

Attention passengers! This is your captain speaking. Your favourite comparison clinician is back for another sizzling session of monetary Q&A.

It’s peak holiday season, when people in their droves will be heading to the airports for a bit of sun, sea and maybe even a bit of sangria – well, it’d be rude not to.

So, sit back, grab yourself a little aperitif from the minibar and relax with this month’s round up.

Kindest Doctor Moore-Money,

Image of couple having dinner

I’ve been married to my doting hubby for many happy years now. We’ve done the lot, but over a few cheeky bottles of vino rosso the other night, he mentioned that he was up for trying something a little more adventurous…

“Oh really?” I giggled. “What did you have in mind?”

His eyes narrowed and he shot me a rakish look. “Well,” he purred. “How about we try a spot of spelunking sometime soon?”

I didn’t know what to say – our tastes have always been so… vanilla. I had no idea he’d been harbouring all these secret desires. He even mentioned that he’d be up for the two of us sharing a white water experience some time soon.

But in fact, now he’s raised the idea, I’m raring to go. I could do with a few tips beforehand though – could you come up with the goods?

Bev, Lincoln

Dr Moore-Money says…

Image of spume

It’s only natural that some couples like to spice things up with some adventurous antics after a few years.

But there are some big issues to take into account… namely, protection.

An adventure sports holiday potentially carries much greater risk than an average beach break, so getting your insurance in order is a must.

If you have an annual travel insurance policy – particularly if it’s packaged as part of a deal from your current account or credit card provider – you may want to peruse the small print to see if you’re covered for such activities.

If you aren’t, then you may want to consider how much adding this sort of cover will cost, or think taking out a policy specifically for adventurous pursuits like riding, cycle touring or indeed rafting.

However, once that’s in order, you should be good to go, secure in the knowledge that if anything goes awry, you’ll be covered.

But in all likelihood, the worst thing you’re likely to encounter is a face full of spume!

Dearest Dr Moore-Money,

Image of Magaluf

Myself and the boys from the lawn bowls club recently embarked on a ‘lads’ holiday’ to Magaluf.

It was as high-spirited as you might expect, but I’m afraid I’ve come back with something nasty which I hadn’t bargained for – an angry, red overdraft.

On the third night, we crossed paths with a gaggle of fine fillies from Wigan. They had a mighty thirst, and were matching us drink for drink – and then some.

The banter was getting fairly close to the knuckle, and as the raki flowed, so did the Euros from my bank account.

Image of girls from Wigan

As I awoke in the morning, nursing a dry mouth and a jumbo-sized hangover, I attempted to put together the pieces of what had gone on the night before.

I briefly recalled Bozza, Scoops and the Length (my accomplices from the team, since you ask) being strongly cautioned by the local Policia after some tops-off antics in the street.

The girls, as I remembered, also involved in an unedifying incident involving an inflatable sheep with a group of men from Swansea.

Then it hit me. Why hadn’t I been more careful?

I’d been far too free and easy when it came to inserting my debit card, and now I’m terrified I’ve accumulated all sort of long-lingering nastiness on my credit file just because I fancied splashing out on those lasses to impress them.

Any tips on how I can set my mind at ease?

Geoff, Tiverton

Dr Moore-Money says… 

Image of hungover man

You do seem to have gotten yourself into a bit of a pickle here, Geoff.

As the good times roll, it’s very easy to forget about the sting that comes with playing fast and loose with your bank card abroad.

Flexing your card in a shop – or in your case, licensed establishment – will usually have a non-sterling transaction fee. Withdrawing cash will also be more expensive.

To mitigate these issues in future, a holiday credit card could come in handy.

These might have benefits like free use abroad, or even saucy bonuses. More on those later.

However, there are matters to consider, such as annual fees and whether they outweigh the savings, and whether the exchange rate offered by your travel credit card is as good as it could be.

Another good way of reducing your spend is changing money before you go.

Of course, with sterling taking something of a pounding over recent weeks, you won’t be getting quite as much foreign dosh as you would have done a few months ago. But you can still shop around for the best rate, and I wholeheartedly suggest that you do so.

Dear Doctor-Moore Money,

Image of retro stewardesses

My husband and I are thinking about joining the ‘Mile High Club’, but are a little worried about the risks involved.

We’re frequent flyers, and often fantasise about maximising our pleasure by building up juicy rewards points to bag ourselves more trips abroad.

How might we go about it?

Maureen, Leominster

Dr Moore Money says,

Image of pilot

Hi Maria. Firstly, I think you might be confusing ‘the Mile High Club’ with Air miles, or Avios, as the scheme is now known – it’s an easy gaffe, but one people often make.

Building up points for an exotic trip abroad on spending you’d be doing anyway on your credit card is certainly a mouth-watering prospect, and one which many big spenders like to take advantage of.

But as always, there are various important caveats to take into account with any credit card which is rewards based.

To extract maximum value, you need to be spending a lot on your card, which means using it for every day spending, not just big-ticket items.

Because rewards-based cards can have high APRs attached to them, you’ll also have to be paying off the balance in full every month in order for the rewards to make financial sense.

You might also want to consider whether you might get more bang for your buck (ahem) with a cashback credit card.

These are very versatile, as rather than having to splash your rewards all on flights, you can earn cold, hard cash.

This way, you can spend the spoils of your regular shopping on whatever you want.

Join us for another informative session with the doc next month. Until then, send us your problems