10 Money Tips for a Holiday Abroad

So finally you’ve decided that you’re going to take that well deserved vacation — away from all the madness at work. I won’t get into why you need a holiday but instead provide you with money tips when planning a holiday. What if your credit card isn’t accepted and you aren’t getting a decent exchange rate for your native currency? Here’s the checklist:

1. Take along your major credit cards — make sure they are really credit cards and not just debit cards with a credit card company’s logo on them. Many locations require a credit card and will not accept a debit card, so they may have limited use on your travel.

2.  Notify your credit card company of your trip before you leave. The unfamiliar spending patters might cause them to suspect that the card is being used fraudulently and delay your approvals. Further, they will explain many of the services that they can provide while you are on your trip.

3. Inform your bank of your trip too so that arrangements can be made to pay bills that will come due while you are gone. Incase due to any reason you still need to make a bill payment while on your trip, all you need is internet access, debit card/netbanking login. Visit www.visabillpay.in and pay your bills (Indian billers only) from anywhere on the globe.

4. Confirm from your credit card company if your PIN number will work in the country you are visiting. They can also issue you another PIN number if your current PIN is unacceptable in the foreign bank’s system.

5. Ask your banker all about cash advance, ATM, foreign purchase and foreign exchange rate policies and fees.

6. Find out the number you can reach your bank or credit card company while you are abroad. The 800 number listed on the back of your card may not work from foreign locations.

7. Check for currency conversion rates of your credit card companies. In that case you can find the most economical card on which to place your foreign purchases.

8. Using the ATM card is also another idea. The ATM will issue money in local currency. But better check: some banks charge a high usage fee for their ATMs. Although, even high ATM fees may be less than others will charge for currency exchanges. Note, your ATM card might NOT work at any foreign bank ATM — from my personal experience, when on a trip to Thailand I found out that a VISA debit card issued in India would only work at Bangkok Bank ATMs.

9. Exchange your currency at the bank’s wholesale exchange rate.

10. Best currency conversion option is to carry US dollars. It’s easier to exchange.

11. One final tip, yeah I know it’s the eleventh one ;)  –  from my personal experience nothing beats having foreign currency (USD / GBP / EUR) in hard cash when traveling abroad. Using your ATM card/ debit card/ credit card in a foreign country will be anytime expensive when compared to having converted your local currency into foreign currency before you leave the country.

Photo credit: nattu

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Author: Austin Comments: 4 comments Date: 6 Mar 2010
Categories: Money Tags: ,

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