Travel tips: How a little financial planning can make for a stress-free trip abroad #TravelTuesday #GuestPost

Because I travel so often, I try my hardest to make sure that I don’t carry much international currency, and that I plan my finances in advance. JT is even worse, he is such a crazy planner particularly for trips. I was recently pitched for a guest blog post by ICE, and I asked Dan Northan, Vice President of International Currency Exchange Canada to provide you with some travel tips to be money savvy while travelling.

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

Photo credit: epSos.de on Flickr

The following guest post is courtesy of Dan Northam, International Currency Exchange

There seems to have been a shift in perception that relying on credit and debit cards when you travel is a better bet than bringing cash, as it’s convenient and allows you to avoid fees. This isn’t always the case. Here are a few tips on how a little planning can make for a stress-free trip:

1. Find out exactly what using your plastic abroad will cost you. A quick call or trip to the bank and you’ll know exactly how much your bank will charge for each cash withdrawal or purchase abroad. Visa and Mastercard typically take one per cent on top of any fees the local ATM or bank levies. Many banks charge a five-dollar flat fee for cash withdrawals on your debit card in a foreign country.

2. Take at least a nominal amount of currency with you. Chances are, you’re going to patronize several businesses that only accept cash, and you can’t tip the maid on credit. Taking a mix of both cash and plastic ensures that you’ll never be caught without money for tipping and small purchases from merchants who don’t accept cards.

3. Find out whether your cards are usable in your destination country. Many nations operate on a four-digit PIN system. Vancouver traveller Isabel DaCosta was travelling in Vietnam and found her six-digit PIN card unusable. She was able to take cash out on her non-chip-and-PIN credit card, but she came home to a $900 bill with $70 in fees alone.

4. Take the sting out of currency conversion. Picking up currency for your trip needn’t be painful. Inquire at your bank about whether preferable rates are given to certain accounts. ICE offers a no-fee pre-order service, Click and Collect, that allows travellers to order currency online and have it ready for pickup and purchase the airport.

5. Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans. Debit and credit card fraud are a booming business and as a result, banks are quick to freeze accounts that they believe have been compromised. Kill two birds with one stone by inquiring about fees and disclosing your travel plans at the same time.

For more tips and information by Dan, you can visit the ICE website.

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Comments (1)

Guacira NavesAugust 29th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Very useful post! Thank you Dan, and thanks Raul for publishing this.

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