by Deery Walker
Cash, checks, or credit? It can be hard to know the best way to spend (and save) when you’re traveling overseas. Here are 13 proven tips to ease the money hassles when you’re on the road in a foreign locale.
Carry a debit card. Test the PIN before traveling.
Carry a credit card with a PIN for additional cash access. Test the PIN before traveling.
Carry a 2nd credit card issued by a different company. Some foreign businesses only accept certain cards.
Have your spouse/partner carry an extra set of cards, in case of loss or theft.
Alert your bank and credit card issuers of travel plans.
Make a note of the credit limits and daily cash withdrawal allowances on the cards.
Research the cards’ currency conversion and ATM withdrawal fees. Use only lower fee cards.
Photocopy the front and back of each card. Leave one copy at home with a trusted individual who can alert the bank and credit card companies in case of loss or theft. Pack a second copy in a secure place, other than your wallet or purse.
Check credit card websites for international telephone numbers and information for specific countries. Some card companies require a police report to issue a new card.
Purchase foreign currency to get through the first 48 hours you’re abroad. Smaller U.S. banks usually have to order foreign currencies. Plan ahead or order 24/7 at www.travelex.com/us/.
Purchase travelers checks for emergency back-up. As an alternative, you can opt for a prepaid Visa TravelMoney card (http://usa.visa.com/personal/cards/prepaid/visa_travel_money.html).
Pack a zipper top bag for receipts. Write purchase details on the receipts. This will come in handy when you fill out customs forms and reconcile bank and credit card statements.
Use ATM machines for cash access. Exchange rates there are typically better than what you’ll get at a bank or money exchange.
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