Get the best bang for your Aussie buck at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

The World Cup is about to kick off, and Aussies heading over to Russia to take part in the experience probably already have flights and hotels booked, and maybe even have their gloves and beanie packed.

But recent research has revealed that one in five Aussies head overseas without putting a travel budget in place, costing a collective $4.6 billion in overspend each year. If you’re one of them, you may not yet have thought about your World Cup travel budget, or getting the best exchange rate on your Aussie dollars.

Well, it’s better late than never and we’re here to help with a few travel money tips to keep you out of the red. If you’re heading to Russia to cheer on the Socceroos, make sure you take note of these important money tips first.

  • Compare currency exchange options. All currency exchange services were not created equal, and finding the right one could make a big difference to how many rubles you wind up with. So make sure you compare exchange rates from a range of different providers before committing to an exchange, to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Come prepared with US dollars or Euros. If you want to exchange currency when you touch down in Russia, steer clear of airport and hotel exchange booths to get a better exchange rate. The good news is exchange booths are common and found on many street corners. The downside is that many will only accept US dollars or Euros, so your Aussie cash won’t be much use.
  • Budget for ATM fees (or ditch them). Cash is still king in many parts of Russia, which means you’ll likely have to hit up the ATM while you’re there (unless you carry your entire budget in your luggage, ready to exchange at the airport on arrival - which we wouldn’t recommend). ATM fees can really start to pile up when you’re travelling, so remember to either account for this added cost when laying out your budget, or look for a prepaid travel card with no foreign ATM fees.
  • Consider an IMT. Staying with family in Russia on your World Cup trip? One cost-effective option for taking your holiday budget with you might be to transfer it into a trusted family member’s Russian bank account, and then withdraw it using their local debit card - that way, you’ll have a better chance of dodging ATM fees, plus you may be able to score a better exchange rate with an international money transfer.
  • Call your bank before you leave. Letting your bank know that you’re going overseas and will be using your plastic there is a good idea no matter where you’re travelling. And to make things even easier, you can often do this through mobile banking these days. So give your bank a call before hopping on the plane, so they don’t think you’ve been the victim of fraud and freeze your account, just as you’re about to pay for some World Cup souvenirs.

Need some help fine tuning your travel money set up? Check out our Travel Money 101 guide for a rundown of some of your spending options when abroad.