Read these five tips before you get to the airport and you’ll be rewarded with a cheaper, easier travel experience.
You’ve probably thought about getting an international roaming plan for your cell phone, but have you considered whether your credit cards are optimized for overseas use?
Credit cards have different features, perks, and fees. You may already have a couple cards in your wallet, they may not be the best ones for traveling abroad. Consider opening an account with one of the best credit cards for international travel.
The main thing to look for is a card without foreign transaction fees. Of course, you should never open a credit card if you believe you’ll have to keep a high balance on it. That could end up costing you a lot more than international fees.
Every time you convert one currency to another you’re subject to the current exchange rate. Money-changing stores and banks profit from keeping the difference between the rate at which they purchase your American dollars and the rate at which they sell you foreign currency. This can be a big deal or not, depending on how favorable or unfavorable the exchange rate already is. For example, when traveling in Europe your dollars will go further in non-Euro countries than in EU countries that use the common currency.
If you use a credit card that charges foreign transaction fees, you’ll pay your bank an extra two-three percent of every purchase you make. That’s on top of whatever profit they made from exchanging your currency. So, if you plan to go abroad more than once in your life, a travel credit card is a good investment even if it charges an annual fee. Depending on how much you spend overseas, you’ll pay less for the annual fee than you would in foreign transaction fees. And many travel credit cards come with other perks such as concierges to help you make travel plans.