Carrying money abroad can prove to be quite the learning curve if it is your first time traveling in a particular country. Before you set foot on a plane or ocean liner or cross a border in a car, it is important to do your homework on how to carry money abroad in the country you will be visiting. To start you off, here are a few general money tips to consider while planning your trip abroad.
Carry Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards
Carry your credit card on you at all times. If you are traveling to Asia, Europe, or South America, you will want to think about getting a chip-and-PIN credit card if you do not already have one. Stores in these regions made the switch to the chip-and-PIN system prior to the US. Designed to keep your information more secure, chip-an-PIN cards from the US generally work in machines in these countries. Cards with magnetic swipes also work, although you will have to get an attendant to swipe the card for you in some stores.
Bring Enough Cash for the First Day
You will likely not want to carry too much cash on you throughout the course of your trip, but you will want to have enough of it on hand for the first 24 hours of your stay in a different country. This will help you get to your location if you need to pay for cab fare or get something to eat. Plan out what you will need to spend for the first day or two, and withdraw that much in foreign currency from your bank. Of course, you should do a little research first so you are aware of the currency exchange rate. For example, if you plan on traveling to the UK from the US in June of 2017, you should know that $1 equals 79 pence in the UK.
Do Not Bring Traveler’s Checks
Traveler’s checks were once popular ways to carry money while traveling abroad. Now, they are virtually obsolete. Traveler’s checks are now expensive, and barely anyone accepts them. Credit cards and debit cards are much more popularly used now, and some credit cards do not charge for international fees. Now that traveler’s checks are not often used, acquiring one and using it can be complicated.
Never Leave Money and Other Valuables Unsecured
A common sense rule-of-thumb to follow while traveling abroad is to never leave your things unattended or unsecured. Whether you’re carrying cash, a credit or debit card, or any other types of valuables, these items should always be either securely carried upon your person or stored in a safe location, such as a locked hotel room. You should take cash or cards, as well as your passport, anywhere you go since you never know what might happen (and a lost passport can make for quite the hassle). Lock all other valuable items securely away.
Before you leave on your trip, make sure your bank or credit union knows you will be traveling through a certain country at a certain time. Otherwise, your bank or credit union might mark foreign transactions as suspicious charges and cease activity on your account. Remember, while you’re abroad, any number of unexpected mishaps or hazards can arise, so safely carrying cash and/or a card on you at all times is crucial.