If you're exchanging your money at the airport, you're throwing it away. Photo: Bloomberg
You've trawled the internet for weeks searching for the best air tickets and accommodation deals.
You've packed a few treats for your no-frills flight to avoid the onboard snack rip-off; purchased advanced long-term parking; and squashed clothes into one bag so you won't be hit with additional luggage charges.
Now you're at the airport wondering how you're going to manage your travel money. Too late.
If you've left organising your travel money to the last minute you'll be throwing away cash that could be better spent on shopping at your destination.
Airport exchanges have much higher transaction fees than banks so try to avoid them if possible. Australia Post also offers exchange on 14 major currencies so it's worth comparing their offer with your bank's rates.
It's also worth researching your credit card before you leave home.
Travellers' cheques are outdated these days and unless you're heading off the beaten track you'll be using ATMs to access your money.
However, you'll always need to have some cash on you in case you can't withdraw money from an ATM with your credit card.
Jeremy Cabral from credit card comparison website, Creditcardfinder.com.au, says Australians need to be savvy with their cash when heading overseas.
"Consumers can save hundreds of dollars simply by planning their trip and working out the most effective ways to manage their travel money," he says.
"Look into your credit card fees, charges and exchange rate, as you can save yourself hundreds of dollars."
There are some credit cards on the market that do not charge for foreign currency exchange conversion and can save you between two and 3.5 per cent on currency conversion charges.
Cabral gives an example of a holidaymaker taking a trip to London for 16 days with a budget of $3800. By switching to a credit card with no foreign transaction fees the traveller can save around $450, he says.
Another way to manage your travel money is to purchase a prepaid currency card before leaving home.
You can load multiple currencies onto the one card, which is PIN protected.
While you're on the road it's wise to separate where you keep your credit cards, cash and passport.
It's also worth taking more than one credit card as a backup in case your wallet is stolen.
During your travels keep all your receipts from purchases or payments to check against your bank statement when you return home. Also, if your bag is lost or stolen you will need these purchase receipts for any insurance claims.
It's also important to make a copy of your identification documents in case the originals are stolen.
If you do find yourself stuck in a foreign country without any money and identification you'll want to get in touch with the Australian embassy, high commission or consulate.
They can provide a small loan called a traveller's emergency loan that can hold you over until you receive a funds transfer from home.