A lot easier to manage than cash, credit cards have become the most essential method of payment when vacationing internationally. Having a credit card eliminates the need for converting bills to local cash. It also makes completing transactions in other countries a lot faster. As convenient as traveling abroad with plastic can be, there are some things to keep in mind.
Use Cards Accepted Worldwide
Not all credit cards are accepted around the world. AMEX and discover cards, for example, are not accepted in all countries. It is best to use a card with a Visa or Mastercard logo on them as they can be used worldwide. Another thing worth pointing out is that most establishments prefer credit cards with chips. If you simply have a bar on the back of your card, you may want to contact your provider to have a new one mailed out before your trip.
Bring Multiple Cards
You should never travel without more than one debit card or credit card on you. Should you reach a destination or service provider that doesn’t accept your particular card, the card gets declined, or it is lost, you want to have another one as a backup.
Submit a travel notice
Identity theft and credit card fraud are very common around the world. Luckily, credit card companies monitor customer accounts closely for red flags. If a transaction is made in another country, your card could be flagged and frozen for suspicious activities. So, whether you have a credit union credit card or another bank or financial institution credit card, reach out to their customer service department prior to your trip. Let them know where you’ll be and find out if there are any restrictions or guidelines you should be aware of.
Bring Some Cash
You never know what could happen during your vacation. If your wallet gets lost or stolen, you enter an establishment that doesn’t accept cards, or you mistakenly go over your limit, you don’t want to be stranded in another country without the means to get around. Having a few hundred dollars tucked away will certainly come in handy in any of these situations.
Write Down Your Card Info
Should your credit card get lost or stolen while you’re out of the country you want to contact your credit card company right away. The sooner you notify them, the sooner they can deactivate the account to avoid fraudulent charges. Preparing before travel and having important information such as the phone number and credit card number makes it easier to get the process completed.
Check Your Card for Perks
Credit cards can make your international trip more affordable and a lot more fun. Review your credit card account to find out what perks you have waiting to take advantage of. You might have frequent flyer miles, priority boarding on cruise ships, no-fee luggage options for airlines, and even discounts on purchases at businesses. Some credit cards have travel insurance you can take advantage of which is great for unforeseen circumstances like cancellations, lost luggage, and medical emergencies.
Be Mindful of Where You login
It’s not uncommon to hop online and check your credit card accounts to see how much money you have to spend, but it is imperative that you be careful where you check this personal information. This is especially true if you’re using free wi-fi internet connections. These are open internet connections meaning that hackers can easily access and steal your personal information. It is best to wait until you can access it from a private and secure internet source.
Keep Your Cards Secure
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for tourists to get robbed. While you can’t control all factors, you should make sure that you keep your cards in a secure location. Never leave them exposed in your hotel room and keep them in a wallet or purse for safekeeping while you’re out and about.
Traveling outside the US is an experience of a lifetime. Having the means to enjoy yourself while you’re there is of extreme importance. Since credit cards are the most convenient forms of payment, taking a few widely accepted cards along for the journey is recommended. Just be sure to keep all these tips in mind to ensure that you can enjoy your travels without any hiccups!