A little pre-planning may help save the day when you need access to your money (cash or credit) while out of country. Confused about what cards will work while travelling and what the hidden costs may be? Avoid surprises when your next statement comes in. Here are a few tips that will save you time and money:
1) Collect up all the banking and credit cards you think you will be taking with you while travelling. Take a copy of them – front and back – and keep with your travel documents at all times. We suggest you take only the essential cards.
2) Contact your bank and your credit card company to ask what additional service and exchange charges may be incurred while you are away. You can even pre-pay money against your card so that when you come home, your trip will have been paid for and you will avoid the interest charges. Some banks have reciprocal branches in other countries (even under a different company name) which do not charge you at their ATMs. Find out the name and location for the destinations you’re going to and save those service fees.
3) Visit your banks’ websites (or call if they don’t have this service) and register your travel dates and destination. This will alert your bank that the jewelry you bought in Argentina was a legitimate purchase by you and not your stolen credit card. Avoid the embarrassment of having your card frozen with unusual activity. It can happen to anyone.
4) Purchase foreign currency before you leave to avoid higher costs of currency exchange. Never buy currency from someone on the street. Even hotels charge higher exchange rates than local banks. There may be limits to the amount of cash you can take into a particular country so be aware of your destinations’ rules and regulations. Take enough to get you through your departure city airport and your first few days so you don’t have to worry about taxis, meals and tipping until you’ve settled into your routine.
5) Always keep cash on you (or in a hotel safe) and if possible split between passengers travelling with you. Then, if you do get robbed, you will still have emergency money to get back to your hotel and report to authorities. Carry money in two or more different places on your body and never in your luggage. Always keep it in front of you (not in a fanny pack) and stay vigilant. The less you look like a tourist the safer you will be!
6) I also like to recommend you pay all your household bills prior to leaving and even the ones for the first few days home so that you can relax and enjoy your trip. Jet lag and coming down from the high of a great vacation may have you accidentally forgetting to pay that bill Monday morning.
Add these reminders to a master travel list and keep handy for each trip. It’s amazing how we can forget the little things until it’s too late!