Trip planning doesn’t end with hotel reservations or flight bookings – you also need to plan ahead for how you’re going to access your money in a foreign country. These five tips will help you decide how to carry your money on your next trip overseas.
Call your banks
First thing’s first: Before you leave, call your banks and credit card companies to give them a heads up about your trip. For your protection, financial institutions will often place a hold on your card if charges suddenly appear from another country. This can be a hassle to undo when you’re overseas without a way to call your banks back in the U.S. Avoid the headaches by notifying your credit card company where you’ll be traveling to before you leave.
Even if you plan to pay for everything in cash, it’s always a good idea to have a credit card handy in case of an emergency. Credit cards are also handy for your big expenses, like hotel rooms and flight tickets. Call you credit card issuer to ask if they offer any handy travel perks like lost baggage insurance, trip cancellation coverage or no fees on foreign transactions.
Keep a debit card handy to access cash during your trip, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll probably be facing fees from both your bank and the ATM issuer for a cash withdrawal, so make your trip to the ATM count. Don’t make a habit of hitting the ATMs daily for $20; instead, make one significant withdrawal and only pay the ATM fees once.
It’s not a good idea to carry your entire vacation budget in cash, but you will need to carry some cash for incidentals like snacks, souvenirs and tipping. Do your due diligence to check exchange rates with your bank and at your destination; you may find you get more bang for your buck if you can exchange your dollars to local currency after you arrive. If you do go this route, be sure to exchange at least a small amount of money to local currency before you leave so you won’t be in a tight spot should you have issues exchanging your cash.
Keep your money safe
When you’re traveling, carry only a small amount of cash. Credit cards are a smarter choice to carry with you since they can be cancelled and fraudulent charges can be reversed should your card become stolen. Never flash your money in public, and consider a money belt or pouch to keep your valuables close. Also, don’t put all of your money in one place or carry all of it with you – if your wallet is stolen and it contains all of the cash and cards you brought with you, you’ll find yourself in a very unpleasant situation.
What are your best tips for taking money overseas?
(Main image: bradipo)