Lazy or unaware? The most avoidable travel traps that are costing Aussies $4.4 billion

Aussie travellers are losing an average of $448 a year to avoidable tourist traps, according to recent Mozo research.

The top three money drainers taking a stab at Aussie bank accounts included paying for medical treatment overseas, which saw travellers coughing up $916, followed by car hire fees for waiver insurance or damage costing $507 and $382 for dining at overpriced tourist hotspots.

At the same time, ATM foreign transaction fees and poor exchange rates were two of the most common tourist traps affecting 40% and 33% of Aussies, respectively.

However, this may not be a total surprise, as 55% of travellers are also failing to research local exchange rates before they head abroad.

RELATED: Mystery shop reveal: How to save $377 on travel insurance for your summer vacation

“Overpaying for a meal or putting up with poor exchange rates can seem fairly minor at the time but the reality is these money leaks can add up over the course of a holiday,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont.

“We found the average overseas traveller has blown over $440 on avoidable spending in the last year – this equates to a staggering $4.4 billion as a nation!” 

Lack of financial preparation was also common amongst Aussies, with more than three quarters of travellers admitting that they don’t research their plastic’s fees for cash withdrawal, but were twice as likely to research luggage allowance rules.

“Travellers can avoid two of the three most common money wasters simply by doing their research beforehand and taking a travel friendly card that doesn’t charge fees for ATM use or transaction fees on overseas purchases.”

But on a more positive note, it appears Aussie travellers are on top of their insurance game with more than half researching travel insurance before heading abroad, which Lamont believes is key to big savings.

“When it comes to cutting down on travel costs, researching your destination and investing in crucial travel insurance is going to save you money in the long run. While no one likes to think about accidents and injuries abroad, medical bills have the potential to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in countries like the United States.”

RELATED: Why you shouldn’t wait to book your travel insurance

If you’re one of the many Aussies currently packing their bags and making last minute travel arrangements, Mozo has got you covered with a few tips for a financially smarter holiday:

Dine like a local -  steer clear of restaurants and cafes in major tourist areas and instead, ask for recommendations from locals or by reading up on food blogs. Also, keep up your strength in between meals by checking out groceries stores. And there’s no shame in taking advantage of complimentary hotel breakfasts or a cheeky happy hour.

Be picky - make sure you’re comparing exchange rates from a range providers to guarantee yourself the best deal. It’s also a good idea to keep away from foreign exchange booths at airports as the high commission rates will burn a hole in your wallet.

Find your plastic match - since it’s easier to pay with plastic, shop around for a travel or debit card without purchases fees and that offer free ATM withdrawals.

Heading abroad and in need of a card that can keep up with your spending? Check out our Travel Money Hub to find your new plastic travel companion today.