Travel as an interest and a hobby has gained prominence over the last few years. With rising income levels and aspirations, families look at travel as not just a fun seeking exercise but also as an investment in unique experiences.
For families residing in tier 1 cities, it has become a once-a-year phenomenon, a shift from the earlier trend of once-a-while.
Many travel companies have sprung up which offer customized group travel plans for people who wish to pursue traveling beyond leisure.
As global economies start working closely, travel for business by corporates has also picked up and it happens almost throughout the year.
The need to travel has given rise to several tools that help ease out the entire travel experience. To list a few, travel apps that chalk out an itinerary based on travellers' needs, websites providing local guides to show travellers around the place and home stays/hostels etc.
Preferences of travellers have evolved as they increasingly seek convenience in the way they communicate and navigate in an unknown country.
All of this cannot happen without local currency. 'Travel Cards', which have attained popularity recently, have become the de-facto solution to carry local currency for several reasons.
Let us see how:
Travel cards are monetarily viable: 'Travel Cards', offered by banks, are pre-paid cards that can be loaded with the destination currency at the current exchange rate and can be used directly at merchant point-of-sale for shopping, dining and also to withdraw cash from overseas ATMs.
Declining popularity of Traveller's Cheque and risk of losing cash make opting for a Travel Card, a wise decision.
Once the trip is over, a refund can be claimed on the un-spent money and the same card can be utilized for another trip abroad.
During long trips spanning different countries, multi-currency exchange becomes a hassle. Then a multicurrency 'Travel Card' is the best option which allows carrying multiple currencies in one single card.
Safety and security: Online administration of the card account through a self-care portal and 24x7 international toll free number provided by the bank can assist customers with information such as balance enquiry, fund transfer and blocking a lost card.
Further, with SMS/Email alerts, cardholders can monitor card related activity real time and immediately report any unauthorized transaction, preventing its further misuse.
Additionally, entire amount from the lost card can be transferred real-time on a replacement card, which is issued along with the primary card. 'Travel Cards' are now offered with Chip & PIN technology which makes them even more safe and secure.
Comes with additional benefits: 'Travel Cards' offer extensive range of insurance covers such as personal air accident cover (only for death) and assistance during loss of travel documents (visa and passport), lost-card-liability cover and lots more.
The cardholders can also reload their cards online while travelling, avail reward points and cash back on selected purchases since shopping is definitely on agenda during leisure travel.
Travel has become integral to the lifestyle. It will be safe to say that people pursue travelling a lot more seriously now.
So next time when you travel, make a 'Travel Card' your companion for that added advantage and convenience. They will never let you down.
Kusal Roy, General Manager & Head - Cards & Personal loans, ICICI Bank