If you have plans to travel overseas, you may want to start thinking about what forms of payment you want to use. It is not always a bad idea to keep cash at hand, but it’s also not safe to travel with too much cash due to risks of it getting lost or stolen. Credit cards are a great option to consider – but there are a few things you may want to do before pulling your card out of your wallet abroad.
If you plan to use your card abroad, it is important to notify all financial institutions you may be using cards with before you leave on your trip. Let them know where you’re going and your travel dates to ensure it does not get suspended for suspected fraudulent activity. Please note that some countries are blocked and need special authorization you will need to request ahead of time.
It is good to carry at least two Visa or MasterCard credit cards, AmEx and Discover are not always accepted worldwide. Double-check any foreign transaction fees your card may have so you are aware of fees you may be charged when you use your card during your trip. Typically you can find this in the credit card disclosure, or you can call your financial institution’s Member Services department to learn more. Some credit cards also offer travel insurance, so consider using a card with the extra coverage.
It also does not hurt to keep a debit card on you with pin capabilities, in case you need to quickly get cash out of an ATM. Always make sure you have enough money in your account and that you check for any ATM associated fees on both your institutions end and the ATM itself. However, it is better to use your credit card for normal everyday purchases, instead of your debit card to lower the rate of theft directly impacting your checking account.
It’s also a great idea to always keep a copy of your card issuers contact information with you, in case your card does get lost or stolen during your trip so you can notify them to shut the card off immediately to avoid fraudulent charges.
Try to create a budget ahead of time and learn the current currency where you are traveling so you can keep up with your travel costs in your own currency and know exactly how much you are spending to help stay within your budget.
Most importantly – have fun and be safe! Give us a call if you have any questions before, during, or after your trip. Safe travels!