Most travelers know to account for the obvious expenses of an international trip: airfare, lodging, food, and transportation. But foreign travel can come with many other unexpected costs. Additionally, many people are unsure of how to keep their money secure during travel. It’s useful to be informed about the extra fees associated with international spending, and the risks of overlooking simple precautions in regard to your money.
Many credit cards charge fees for international use. When traveling to another country, find out if your credit card imposes these charges on foreign-based purchases. Companies such as Chase Sapphire, Capital One, and Discover will not charge extra fees for certain cardholders. Travel rewards cards usually waive transaction fees, which is something to consider if you travel regularly but still have a standard card. In case you have more than one card, be sure to check with each company ahead of time so you can choose the right card for use on your trip.
If your credit card is going to incur fees every time you use it on your travels, consider using cash as your primary payment method. Having cash at hand is always a good idea regardless. However, beware of high currency exchange fees at airports and other exchange sites. The best way to avoid this additional cost is to get money from your bank ahead of time. Many currencies are readily available for exchange at banks with international locations and will have better exchange rates than elsewhere. Foreign currency can also be ordered online, and post offices often have currency exchange rates that are easier on your wallet.
Whether you opt for cash or credit, the next consideration is how to protect your money while traveling. Credit cards pose less of a problem. The availability of digital wallet apps like Apple Pay make it easy to pay from your phone. If you will be traveling with family members or friends you trust, one option is to split the responsibility of carrying money between several people. In that scenario, if the money is lost or stolen, your cash is not gone in one fell swoop. If staying in a hotel, consider having some of it stored in their safe. In a rental property, find a secure place to keep it while staying there. Just remember to get it before you leave!
When carrying money, credit cards, or passports with you, there are great options for (comfortably) keeping your property secure on your person. Small crossbody bags are an option for preventing an easy theft and are much less bulky than purses and backpacks. Body wallets can be strapped to your waist or hung around your neck, then hidden discreetly under clothes. Anti-theft bags come in bigger sizes and have special features like anti-slash fabric and zipper locks.
No one wants to spend a trip worrying incessantly about their budget, or constantly looking over their shoulder for pickpockets. Take a few precautions ahead of time, and you can keep your wallet safe without burning a hole in it.