10 Tips to Prepare Your Finances before International Travel
Probably the easiest thing that you can do while planning a holiday is fixing your destination! National destinations can go off smoothly due to the feeling of belonging but with international destinations I have experienced an additional planning factor, that of ‘getting most for the money’. Even a decade back I had carried travelers’ cheque with me. Not anymore! Cheques have almost become redundant and may become extinct very soon. Credit cards have come as instant solution to most travelers.
The biggest advantage of course is the ease with which we can do bulk purchase of air tickets. In addition to that we can pay off hotel bills and car rentals, which most often require huge money transactions. Since huge money transactions are involved it would be wise check out some important facts about the dealing with your banker. So before you get a credit card issued for traveling it is necessary to keep some basic practical important factors in mind. Prepare your finances before International Travel.
Prepare Your Finances before International Travel.
- Get a foreign currency friendly credit card. This is important because some credit cards charge a foreign currency transaction fee. Check the bank in the foreign country where you are doing the transaction. The bank where the ATM is located can charge service fee.
- Before you set off for the journey let your credit card issuer know the dates and places of travel. This will help them enable their system so that sudden huge transactions don’t trigger their fraud alert system. Most often this situation arises when hotels, car rentals put hold on your credit card. They do remove the hold after the bill has been paid. Check if there is any limit on international spending with the credit card issued.
- And most important don’t change currency at airport. Carry sufficient loose change to enable you reach your hotel or your place of stay.
- Make sure your PIN is a foreign country friendly one. You may find your card with longer PINs handicapped because many foreign machines don’t accept cards more than 4 digits PINs.
- Verify and confirm with your issuer which fees will apply to your transactions. Rules change fast and we realized what was valid in 2011 summers wasn’t valid in 2012 summers. So it is always better to check with your issuer about any change in policies.
- In spite of all planning just as you tend to overspend, there are journeys when you bring back the unspent Euros. Couple of times I have faced this situation. Nobody wants to be in a cash strapped situation that too in a foreign land. And I have brought back the credit card home laden with Euros. The gnawing fear always remained whether I would get the best deal for Euro to INR conversion. Since I had plans for a foreign travel again I saved them up for next holidays.
- Now, the second situation of no planned foreign travel calls for good amount of research. Hoarding the saved Euros will be a loss and you may have to sell them offline or online. Check out the several rates being offered by the different issuers. Undoubtedly the conversion factor will hit your transactions. But how drastically you will be hit depends how much of market study you have done. Again this factor too keeps changing and depends mostly on length of travel. So keep in mind the travel duration and the possibilities of market rate fluctuations.
- During my study I got a whole range of issuers offering different deals. Take care to read between the lines of each of them. Some charge you in dollars rather than in local currency. If your purchase is in dollars chances are your conversion fees may get waived off. So check which currency to choose to make the purchase.
- Another rare situation that can arise during travels is being charged twice for the same transaction or being charged for something you haven’t purchased. Check with your issuer if they retain the credit card imprints; you can get back and compare. The issuer should be able to help in the dispute of such overcharges.
- Finally, it is good to carry more than one credit card and keep them in separate places in case of pickpocket. And if you are doing so, note down their international customer care phone numbers.
I faced some of these situations during my travels and I have followed some of these rules religiously while making my travel plans. Do let me know through your comments if you have some more tips.