When it comes to international travel, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether you have the right currency, if you’ve got the correct credit cards and how much you need to be prepared to tip.
In order to avoid arriving at your destination unprepared, it’s a good idea to plan everything out well in advance of your trip so you’re not greeted by any unexpected occurrences.
This guide will provide you with the best money saving tips for international travel.
One important tip to bear in mind when it comes to international travel and your money is that you need a travel credit card that waives foreign transaction fees.
Most major credit cards usually charge a 3% foreign transaction fee when you purchase things abroad. While this may not seem too extreme at first, if you’re making lots of regular purchases while you’re away (which you probably will be on things such as food, drinks and activities), these transaction fees will soon add up.
If you want to ensure you avoid foreign transaction fees when you’re abroad, you need to ensure you get the best travel rewards credit card. A credit card that’s specifically designed to aid you when travelling means that you can earn points, air miles and often even free hotel stays.
Some premium travel credit cards even offer free airport lounge access and discounted stays in large chain hotel corporations. Not only will you be avoiding transaction fees on your purchases, you’ll also reap many other incredible rewards.
Being aware of the exchange rate before you travel internationally can be essential to your holiday or business trip.
You should always look up the exchange rate before you travel so you know how much your money is worth; this way, you can plan and budget accordingly.
There are many currency converter apps available to download (some don’t even require Wi-Fi) or a simple search on Google will tell you how much you’re paying in terms of your local currency.
Similarly to the point above, it’s also a good idea to be aware of how much you can be expected to tip when you travel internationally. Not every country in the world has a standard tipping expectancy, so you could find yourself tipping much more than you would in London, or even far too little.
It’s easy to find out the standard tipping expectancy of a country online or from travel blogs, or you could even ask the locals once you arrive at your destination.
Another incredibly important money tip to be aware of when you’re travelling internationally is to always let your bank know when and where you’re going.
You should always let them know well in advance if possible as you don’t want to arrive at your destination to find that your account has been frozen or shut down. Banks will often freeze your bank account, leaving you unable to withdraw or spend any money.
They do this if it looks like there’s been suspicious activity on your account; if you’re usually based in London but your card is telling your bank that you’re in Singapore, then this will look suspicious to your bank who will just automatically shut your account.
As well as making them aware of your travel plans, you should also ensure your contact information is fully up to date in case your bank needs to get in contact with you.
Traveller’s cheques were once an incredibly popular method of carrying cash internationally, but they’re rarely accepted anywhere anymore.
They’re also not cheap to get and you have to invest a lot of time applying for and purchasing them. Furthermore, travel credit cards will give you a much better exchange rate, plus plenty of rewards you can enjoy, making your money go further when travelling.
It’s best to just avoid traveller’s cheques altogether when travelling internationally nowadays.
When travelling internationally, you’re likely to incur an ATM fee every time you withdraw cash. The exact ATM fee you’ll be charged with differ between countries, cities and whether the ATM is run by a large banking corporation or a smaller chain. You might only want to withdraw a small amount of cash to buy some London souvenirs, but end up being stung with ATM fees when you need cash on the spot!
ATM fees are also susceptible to change often depending on the business and the ATM that you use.
Having a backup card isn’t always essential when travelling internationally but it can be a good idea to have.
This is in case you lose your card, or it gets stolen; you might be far away from your bank’s branch and it could take weeks for them to send out a replacement card. Not only will you be unable to pay for anything on your card, you also won’t be able to withdraw any cash, thus rendering you without any form of payment.
Taking a spare credit or debit card with you could be a life saver in these types of situations as you’ll have easy access to emergency cash.
Hopefully the guide above has provided you with some insight into the best money tips you should be aware of when travelling internationally.
Obtaining a travel credit card and being aware of foreign transaction fees and ATM fees are imperative when travelling abroad. They can make the difference between spending lots of unnecessary money on fees (ATMs can charge anywhere between £2 and £10 on fees depending on where you are in the world).
Being smart with your travel money and being aware of the exchange rate when travelling overseas can prove to be essential to the monetary aspect of your international trip.