If you plan on traveling overseas, one of your primary concerns is, most likely, how to take care of your money. Now, let’s be fair here: accidents can happen anywhere in the world (even in your hometown, for that matter). But things tend to be worse when they happen with one ocean difference between you and your loved ones.
So, how to deal with your money overseas the best way possible? Here are some tips to help you out:
If you’re sending money to friends or family before your visit, or planning an extended trip, then an international currency transfer might be a good idea for you. It’s a great way to save on foreign currency conversion fees and also a lot more secure than exchanging your money in a dodgy place inside the airport that’s going to make a serious profit from your transaction.
Credit and Debit Cards Are Great
…But not everywhere and not in all cases. For instance, if you are an US traveller, you may find that some merchants do not accept the regular magnetic band credit card most Americans have. That is so because in most European and South American countries, credit card issuers have switched to the newer chip-and-PIN models and there may be places where you will simply not be able to swipe your card. Make sure you inform yourself on this before you pack your bags.
Oh, and before you pack your bags, make sure you call your credit card issuer and tell them that you will not be in the country for a certain amount of time. Otherwise, you may wake up with a blocked card (and that’s one of the last things you want while you’re thousands of miles away from home)
Also, you may not want to use your credit card unless you are making a larger purchase (e.g. your plane ticket or your hotel accommodation for example). For smaller expenses (food, restaurants, souvenirs and so on), use cash.
Which brings us to the next tip…
Use Your Cash Carefully
When abroad, you have three ways in which you can use your cash: you can withdraw them from the ATM, you can carry them around with you or you can mix both of these options for the best solution. Permanently withdrawing from the ATM can leave a huge hole in your budget (with bank fees, conversion fees and other charges to be taken into consideration). However, withdrawing a smaller sum of money (e.g. 200 euros, for instance) can help you feel safer that you will have plenty of money to go if your credit card gets stolen or blocked. Preferably, do this as soon as you land on your destination and make sure you keep your cash in a very, very, very safe place.
Before you leave, remind yourself to check the foreign currency and to take it into consideration when establishing your budget for your travels. Also, remind yourself to avoid changing foreign currency in any American airport (because you will most likely lose some money due to the bad exchange rate). Another important thing to keep in mind about foreign money is that you should avoid changing excess currency – you will not want to return back home with it and changing it back into your home country’s currency may cost you more.