Traveling is about spiritual richness, yet you can’t be a total hippie and rely on the goodwill of the people you encounter, it is wise to carry some money with you. One of the most frequent questions I get as a semi-pro traveler is what the best way to keep your money safe and accessible while abroad is? Cash? Credit cards? Debit cards? Let’s settle this problem with some examples.
Always carry some cash
Even in the most lavish places, like Switzerland or Dubai, finding an ATM or paying with a card could be a challenge if you are not near the city center, much less in the country-side. It goes without saying that if you are traveling to more remote places like Africa or the jungles of Asia your plastic won’t be worth much.
The local currency is better than US dollars since you will never get a fair exchange and seller will tend to approximate the price in their favor.
Use debit cards for budgeting
If you are going to more urban areas and you don’t expect to wander too much off the beaten path, a debit card could be a way to keep your budget under control. Before you leave home only let in your current account what you intend to spend while abroad. Most banks use a dedicated app to see if your phone is in the same geolocation as your card. Also, check limits and expiration date to avoid being unable to pay.
To make sure you avoid any unwelcomed payment denials, contact your bank before your departure and inform them about your travel plans. It is also a good idea to check the fees and commissions that your bank has for international transactions. Compare what you get with this list of the best debit cards: https://aaacreditguide.com/best-debit-cards-for-international-travel/
Use credit cards for safety
As Investopedia suggests, using a credit card is best when you want better fraud liability limits. It also offers protection, and in case it is lost or stolen you can disable it with a simple call. Some credit cards come with exciting bonuses, and reward systems for travelers like air-miles, hotel discounts or theme park advantages so be sure to inquire this with your bank before departure. Ask about any partnership or loyalty programs associated with your card.
If you are heading to Europe be sure to check if your current credit card is accepted, since the standard technology there is “chip & PIN,” as opposed to just the simple magnetic band. Paying with a credit card also link your shopping to your name, thus acting as additional proof of purchase or warranty.
Nowadays there is an app or a converter for everything. Before leaving your home use Numbeo to get a feeling of the average prices of your destination. Next, install a currency converter of your choice and use it a couple of times to get used to prices in the foreign currency. Also, check your bank’s app every evening to see how much you’ve spent and what fees you had.
This post was contributed by a guest writer and was NOT written by Joshua Berman.