I AM TRAVELLING TO SCANDINAVIA AND RUSSIA. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE THE VARIOUS CURRENCIES WHILE THERE? I WILL BE IN EACH COUNTRY FOR ONLY A FEW DAYS. ALSO, WHAT IS THE BEST SIM CARD TO USE THERE?
B. CALLAGHAN, HAWTHORN
You need to stay flexible when you're hopping from one country to the next with different currencies, and ATM machines are great for this purpose. You can withdraw only as much as you need and, if you're running short just before you leave a country, you can make a small withdrawal to tide you over. On the downside, currency conversion fees and ATM fees can take a bite out of your funds and the card many frequent business travellers rely on is the Citibank Visa Debit Card, which has no overseas transaction fee, no annual fee and no monthly account keeping fee. If you use a Citibank ATM facility to make your withdrawals you'll also dodge the ATM withdrawal fee. You can get a multi-country SIM card to cover all the countries you'll be visiting. Woolworths Global Roaming SIM card offers good rates for calling Australia from Scandinavian countries and also for data, but less so when you call from Russia, where calls cost more regardless of which SIM card you're using. Data downloads on a SIM card are vastly expensive in Russia. Confine your data usage to those times when you have access to free Wi-Fi or you'll burn through your card's credit in the blink of an eye.