We have just returned from a quick trip overseas. The first leg was to Los Angeles to see our son James and his wife and their beautiful daughter Sophie. She was born on 1st May and is growing rapidly. Then we made the hop to London, and spent five days there before returning home via Hong Kong. As we only spent two hours at Hong Kong airport, we had no indication of the turmoil that was going on in the streets.
On this trip, I did not use cash at any stage – just relied on my ING Visa card which worked perfectly until it got stopped late in the trip because of a suspicious transaction. I then fell back on the 28° card – now renamed to Latitude – which also has minimal fees but does not rebate the hidden fees like ING does. On this trip they came to $95 – not to be sneezed at. It’s usually about 3% of the bill – so when you pay a $2000 hotel bill you get around $60 back.
It’s interesting to compare technologies. When we got home there was a new ING card in the mail which could be activated instantaneously using the app on my phone. There was also a new replacement card from Latitude as the other one was due to expire – this took 10 minutes on the phone to activate!
As always, the costs of eating out overseas are astronomical. In London an espresso in a restaurant costs about £6 plus a 20% tax plus a compulsory 12.5% service charge. This brings the cost to £8 which is close to $14. So, two coffees for two people is close to $30. You can imagine the restaurant bills!