Here are a few things you might want to know about money when you travel.
First, if you like to travel make sure you sign up for frequent flier programs. You can also accrue miles through credit cards. There are many articles you can find that can advise you on the best card for your situation. You might be amazed how quickly you can earn that free flight.
Should I carry cash?
Yes, carry a small amount of cash. You’ll need it for small gratuities, incidentals like a bottle of water etc.
What about Travelers Checks?
Traveler’s checks are dead. Not literally, you can still get them, but they are seldom used. We don’t recommend them.
Will my debit and credit cards work overseas?
Generally we have not had problems. It is critical you call or inform your bank and credit card companies online in advance of your travels. If you don’t, your card will likely get rejected. The U.S. has lagged behind other countries in implementing cards with chips and PINS, but we’ve been able to make purchases with U.S. cards.
I try to pay the majority of our expenses with a credit card. It makes for an easy exchange. Make sure you have a card that has little or no foreign transaction fees.
How do I get foreign currency?
You can usually go to the bank at home before you go and secure foreign currency. It may take three weeks or longer and you will want to know the fees involved.
As a more experienced traveler, I generally get my currency overseas. You can usually make an exchange in an international airport. Fees at those stands or airport ATM’s are usually pretty high. It’s best to get all the cash you think you need. For example, there may be a $12 charge to get $100 equivalent, but you may have the same $12 cost to get $300 worth of foreign currency.
Due the exchange costs at airports I try to avoid an exchange there if I can. Once at the hotel, I usually walk to the nearest bank ATM. That’s usually the best place to exchange money for minimal cost.
How do I know how much things cost?
Your credit card will convert those Euro’s into dollars for you at a current exchange rate. If you really want to know how much that souvenir is, use an app on your smart phone called XE. This instantly tells you in $’s what your spending in pounds, francs, euros or any other currency.
Not good with a smart phone? Travel with me. I’ll do it for you
The dollar is strong and it’s a great time for Americans to find bargains overseas. Just remember to pack light and leave room in your suitcase. Let’s go shopping!