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Money matters – How to pay while traveling!

When you are about to board the plane to explore this foreign country far away you probably already thought about the money. You have probably saved enough money to pay the bills at home and still have enough to pay for your needs abroad. But if you are just about to plan your next trip you might want to consider some of the following tips:

If you decide to travel longer than a couple of weeks it is important that all your banking problems are solved. I’d advice that you register for online banking if something unexpected happens and you need to transfer money to somewhere. This way you can do this 24/7 and don’t need to talk to a representative who doesn’t know you and asks you weird and random questions to proof your identity.

Tell your bank that you are going to travel abroad and that they shouldn’t block your card if there are several charges from foreign countries.

Have two or three forms of payment. For instance: 1. Debit card 2. Prepaid Credit Card 3. Credit Card.

I would always recommend paying in local currency but to get this local currency you would probably need to get money from an ATM where banks ask for a fee. To avoid this fee you can get currency cards from or other prepaid companies. If you travel longer you will often go to an ATM and even though the fee might not be that high if you run to an ATM two times a week during a 4 weeks holiday you will probably spent between $20 and $40 on transaction fees. With prepaid currency cards or credit cards you can avoid these fees.

Keep a written record of your cards. It is useful to have a written record of your card numbers with expiry date and CVC number for when they get stolen and you have to report the loss.

Traveler checks used to be very popular. You can save some money if you order them in advance and they can be fully replaced within 24 hours if they are stolen. Not many merchants accept those today and they often need to be exchanged at a bank. They are recommended in countries where Credit Cards are hardly accepted and ATM are rare.

Debit cards vs. Credit Cards

There are many banks with many offers. You should talk to your bank if they offer free withdrawals abroad. Bank of America waives ATM fees for banks in the Global ATM Alliance. In Europe, the German DKB offers Visa credit cards with no ATM fees worldwide. Many cheap flights can be easily paid with credit cards.

Debit cards are only the second best way to spend money abroad. They always add a fee for every transaction. Some debit cards add a fee of up to $10 per withdrawal. Check carefully before you waste your money!

The expert vagabond also has a very useful guide on how to protect your money!

How do you pay your bills while traveling?


Sebastian Canaves
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