When it comes to traveling overseas, it pays to prepared. Especially, when it comes to money. You never know who might be out to take advantage of you and the last thing you want is to be stranded in a foreign country without cash.
Many banks make a lot of money from tourism and credit and debit cards will often charge you for use abroad. So how can you stay safe with your spending?
A little bit of research can go a long way. While you’re browsing through the guidebooks and googling the weather forecast, why not take a few minutes to check on the financial situation? Major tourist hotspots will have no problem with your credit card, whereas cash might be better for more remote destinations. And you may find that some countries won’t exchange your currency, which is something that’s better to find out before you get there. While you’re at it, be sure to check the cost of your flight through comparison websites like Momondo.com, to really get the best value for money.
A good way to cover yourself with spending abroad is by using a prepaid card. They work just like any other card, except you load them with money before you spend. This helps you stick to your budget and if it gets stolen there’s no risk of somebody getting at your bank account. Plus, many providers also offer emergency cash just for that situation. However, be sure to shop around for the best deal. Many prepaid cards come with sneaky fees. Make sure you get one that doesn’t charge you extra for use in the countries you’re visiting.
In terms of value, traveller’s cheques are some of the worst deals available. The cost to buy them is usually more than the international charges you’d get with a credit or debit card. However, if safety is your main concern, they really can’t be beat. So long as you make a record of the serial numbers, most providers will replace them within 24 hours if they get stolen. They’re risk-free and widely accepted, although maybe not in more rural areas.
The cheapest way to spend abroad is to convert your money before you go. Always be sure to do this well in advance. The absolute worst thing to do is change your money at an airport currency exchange, since they will make you pay through the nose for the privilege. As ever, shop around for the best deal and avoid paying for the transaction as a credit card. Of course, it can be risky to carry large amounts of money. So take adequate precautions and check that your travel insurance will cover you if it gets stolen.
It always pays to be prepared. To stay safe, do your research before you go and find out which method is most suitable for your destination. Bon Voyage!