Travelling to the UK in April.

quite new to YNAB, not even a month in.

I am travelling to the UK for a vacation and wondering how i should handle tracking my expenses as everything will be in a foreign currency (Pounds and Euros). I have a decent amount set aside for this trip so i am not worried about running out of cash (staying with friends so no hotels, been there many times so i avoid the big expensive tourist traps etc).

  • Should i just use my CC for everything and wait till things clear to get the conversion to CDN dollars? (i have done this in the past and the lag time is a bit annoying)
  • work in cash only? (i have not got a handle of using cash in YNAB to be honest, i dont use it often in my day to day)
  • just be conscious of what i am spending and deal with it all when i get home? (its only 2 weeks)
  • use a ballpark conversion and enter that and reconcile after?

hmmm.

thoughts from those who have done it?

Thanks in advance!

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  • Hi Eaglegrl !

    For handling multiple currencies, we suggest creating a separate budget for each currency you use. For example, you could have one budget for your main currency accounts, and one budget for your secondary currency accounts. In both budgets, you will have a category called ‘Currency Transfer'. For our example, let’s say that you have accounts in US Dollars and Canadian Dollars. If you were to send 1000 CAD to your US account, record a transaction in the CAD budget for 1000, categorized to the Currency Transfer category. That 1000 has now left the CAD budget.

    When it arrives in your US account as 600 USD (or so), add it as income and budget it to your US budget categories. When you send money the other way, the process is the same but reversed. It uses the Currency Transfer category in the USD budget, which is then Income arriving into the CAD budget. 

    We like this method because all the currency fluctuations and charges are simplified. You record what you send, and you record what you receive.

    Recently, a YNABer created an application that Works with YNAB - it's in that list as Multi-currency For YNAB and allows for multiple currencies in you original budget. If you go that route, you could then treat those transactions normally in your budget. :)

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  • Firstly, hope you enjoy your trip. I'm assuming you're also crossing the channel seeing as you mention € as well as £. If you are going to Europe as well fingers crossed that you don't get affected by Brexit. Well, everything crossed that it just never happens but I'm only dreaming then.

    I've never bothered with a separate budget for a short vacation (2 weeks or less). I've used all your methods except cash only. (A) and (B) feel a bit more like a holiday but the wisdom of them depends on how tight your budget is and how good you are at having a general idea how much you're spending. 

    However, I'd probably favour (D), pick the rate from today (1 CND = £0.57) and then enter your transactions using the inbuilt calculators and then adjust the transaction once it hits your credit card statements. With one of my credit cards, I find that the rate changes between the first time it hits my bank online and the final statement so I add a coloured flag to all transactions and don't remove it until I've got the final statement. The rate may be less stable than normal (Brexit again) but it will probably be close enough until they do hit your account.

    The app that Faness mentioned is worth a look but what matters at the end of the day is the exchange rate (and possibly fees) that your bank/CCs end up charging you.

    I wouldn't favour using cash for everything if I could help it. We don't use cash that much over here any more. Most people have contactless technology on their debit/credit cards and so swipe cards for even the smallest transactions now.  Some transport options (London I'm looking at you) either charge more for cash or don't take it at all*. This isn't really a YNAB decision but a cost of converting money decision - we use a specific CC when travelling as it's the best for Forex, using the wrong one can get incredibly expensive and we'd have been better off converting cash. 

    One final thing on this pre-coffee morning ramble, some shops will offer to charge you in £ or CND.  In the UK we are advised to always opt for paying in local currency.

     

    *If you are in London, then you have 2 options for paying for transport. Tapping a card (which requires contactless technology and could be expensive depending on your credit card/bank FX policies) and an Oyster card. The latter are £5 (refundable) and then you load them up to work in the same way as a contactless card. There are day and weekly caps on both to limit how much you get charged.

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    • monkeyhanger Thank you for weighing in here! While I could lay out the YNAB approach here, I was short on the actual UK/Europe experience - it's great insight! :)

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  • Thanks so much for the advice monkeyhanger  and Faness .

    I shall try out the currency converter plugin and will def. use my credit card most. I like your Option D  monkeyhanger

    Yes im hoping that the exchange rate wont be too crazy travelling mere days after brexit (and heading to Bruges for the weekend a week later). 🤞<knock wood> <insert what ever other superstition :) > 

    Totally agree on the oyster card. I got one several years ago and keep it stashed with my passport so i have it upon arrival (along with others i have picked up here and there...do i need to get on a bus in Glasgow? I got the card for that!!!). Which reminds me i should go set up an oyster account so i can preload it before i leave (no standing in queues when you are jet-lagged!).  

    For those heading to London, if you are planning early, you can buy a preloaded visitor oyster card online and have it mailed to you (https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-london/visitor-oyster-card). This way you dont have to figure out tickets and payment when you get there, just tap and go.

    Off to find more off-the-beaten-track places to visit. Any recommendations monkeyhanger ?

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eaglegrl We're also going to be in Belgium the week after Brexit (if it actually happens when it's meant to). The uncertainty re the date means we don't know if we need green slips, international driving licences, etc and by the time we do know we may not have time to get them. We could apply now but they cost a moderate amount.

      Where are you heading in the UK? If just London, which bit are you staying in? Oh and what are your interests? My main advice right now is plan for long queues at customs and don't mention the B word. Grrr.

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  • monkeyhanger just staying in London this time, near Brixton market. 

    Oooo didn’t think about customs... will it go back to lines for commonwealth countries? Lol that is always beneficial for us Canadians. So many little ripples that could make things tricky...people likely haven’t even thought of all of them!

    currently the things on our list are mostly galleries and museums (art historian and a graphic designer; those things are a given). No big touristy spots other than the British Museum (haven’t been in about 20 yrs).

    i take it you live in the area?

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eaglegrl Hmm, my last reply got eaten by Chrome it seems.

      I'm further round in SW London but can easily get to Brixton market on a couple of buses. Love it. If you're a foodie, add Borough Market and the food trucks of Spitalfields and Shoreditch to your list. Poutine has even finally hit these shores. 

      This may be slightly left-field compared to art galleries but if that's your bag, I'd recommend a trip to the tunnels near Waterloo (Leake Street, I think) for some fabulous graffiti art. I last went late at night during Lumiere London but keep planning to go back, particularly as my sister just posted pictures on FB of the latest works alongside a fabulous Vietnamese meal at Banh Bho Brothers.

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  • If you don’t have a contactless / pin card and are planning on carrying a smartphone I’d highly recommend setting up Apple Pay or whatever the android equivalent is. So much easier then paying with an American card over there since our cards are archaic and require us to sign. 

    Like 1
  • Just wanted to let everyone know my trip was great AND i stayed on budget! Except for some of my time in Bruges it was simple to just use my credit card and tap/contactless virtually everywhere. Then everything matched up. 
    I didn't track so closely when i was in bruges and was annoyed when it came time to reconcile but i learned my lesson; just needed to check in on YNAB a few more times over the vacation to enter things in as it was hard to recall what exactly the transactions were days later (my CDN bank does not allow for syncing the accounts with YNAB).
     

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  • monkeyhanger We did a great walk from Monmouth coffee (yum!) at Borough Market over London bridge, past the Monument to Leadenhall Market for a quick bite at Leons. Then on to Saint Dunstan in the East Church Garden, under Tower bridge and along the Thames path past old warehouses turned condos to Wapping Station, including a stop on the patio at Captain Kidd's near Execution dock. A beautiful sunny day. The only busy section was of course running the gauntlet around the tower of London and all the tourists ;) Was wonderful to see some corners of London that as a tourist i never would have known existed.

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      CDN knitter What a fabulous walk. And a famously good coffee to start with.

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    • CDN knitter Lovely photos! So glad to hear that you enjoyed the trip. That walk looks amazing! 😍

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