Travelling abroad? As you prepare for your overseas travel, one of the most important thing that you need to consider is the money that you will need while you are outside the country. The last thing that you want is a ruined trip because of financial problems that you may encounter along the way.
Here are some smart money tips to help you fully enjoy yourself without having to worry about high interest rates, exorbitant exchange fees and unexpected emergencies while you travel:
1. Purchase a travel insurance.
A travel insurance is your best protection for the worst case scenario. It works wonders for extreme cases such as accidents, sickness or theft. Even if you have health or disability insurance in your home country, those insurances will not work abroad. Some countries may refuse treatment if you don’t have adequate insurance. Other countries have very expensive medical costs. You do not want to go back home in debt.
If you do not have an extra budget for a travel insurance, it is best to purchase your airline tickets using a travel credit card. Most travel cards offer free travel insurance as one of their perks and privileges. Contact your travel credit card company to find out the details.
2. Bring a mixture of cash, credit cards and debit cards.
Bringing a mixture of cash, credit cards and debit cards is the best way to travel. Each form has certain uses and advantages.
Bringing too much cash is never a good idea when you travel. However, it is still recommended that you bring a small amount of cash in the local currency when you travel. An ideal amount would be your projected expenses for the first 24 hours of your trip. Cash will come in handy for small purchases like airport food, local transportation cost to your hotel and tips.
Get the local currency before you leave the country. You can get it through your local bank or a reputable money changer near you. You will get a better exchange rate when you exchange it before you leave rather than doing it at the airport. And besides, you are not even sure if the airport money changers are open at the time of your arrival.
Use your credit cards for bulk purchases like airline tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals and big-ticket shopping items. The biggest advantage of using credit card is that it is very convenient. You do not need to bring loads of cash with you. Second advantage is that purchases are charged using the interbank exchange rate. You will get a better deal with the interbank exchange rate compared to money changers. In addition, your credit card transaction will serve as additional proof or warranty when you purchase expensive items like electronics for example, just in case you lost the original receipt.
Credit cards always come in handy when travelling.
When you use your credit card, you will often be asked if you want it charged to your local or home currency. The answer to this is it depends. What you need to do is to check your card if they charge an international transaction fee. If they do, it is better for you to charge your card using the local currency. An international transaction fee means an additional 3-4% charge on top of the currency conversion rate. This means you will just end up paying two charges with your credit card purchase.
Just a word of precaution, always keep your card within your sight when making transactions. Most credit card scams happen when people get a chance to have an alone time with your card. If you are going to use it in a restaurant, make sure that the server will bring the terminal device to you so that you can clearly see when they make the transaction. If they cannot do this, you are better off paying cash.
Like credit cards, using debit cards are very convenient. Most major cities and airports around the world have ATM machines. Withdrawing cash in ATMs abroad works pretty much the same way as withdrawing from ATMs in the country. If you are going to use your own bank’s ATM, there will be no transaction charge. Major banks like Citibank and HSBC have branches and ATMs abroad. For other banks, just make sure that your debit card is a Visa or a MasterCard. A small transaction fee will be charged but it is still a better option than paying commission fees and charges in money changers.
|Using an ATM debit card is the best way to get the local currency abroad.|
3. Divide your cash and cards in different places.
Your cash, credit cards and debit cards should never be stored in one area only. Place them in multiple places such as inside the zipper pocket of your bag and inside your belt bag. Keep the rest inside the safety deposit box in your hotel. Just make sure that you have enough cash for the day and at least one credit card or debit card in your wallet.
4. Keep small bills handy.
To avoid rummaging through your bags and catching unnecessary attention, make sure that you keep small bills in a separate wallet. Put in a place that is easily accessible.
5. Inform your bank or your card company of your travel.
Some banks automatically freeze your accounts when international transactions are charged. To avoid this form happening, do call your bank first before leaving the country.