Credit cards provide a lot of convenience when you’re traveling. They can be used across the globe, and you can use online tools to track spending and more while you’re away. There are a few considerations for traveling with your credit cards though, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Bring copies of the front and back of your cards and keep the copies in a separate place from the cards themselves. A hotel safe can be a good place to store them. If your cards are stolen, you’ll have all of the information you need to contact the company.
- Always carry a back-up card. If something happens to your primary card, you’ll be glad you have a secondary one.
- Carry some cash. Cards don’t always work, especially abroad where card readers are increasingly incompatible with U.S.-issued cards.
- Save your receipts. It can be hard to track your expenditures during a whirlwind trip, so use receipts during vacation and then again to verify the transactions on your statement.
- Check your card’s travel discounts. Many cards, even some that aren’t specifically travel-related, offer benefits on particular airlines, hotel chains, and more.
- Check your card's benefits relative to travel discounts, travel assistance services and other travel benefits.
- If you’re traveling outside of the country, be sure to notify your credit card company in advance. If the company doesn’t know that you’ll be traveling, they may block your transactions. Then you’ll have to call them, which can prove difficult depending where you are.
- Likewise, investigate potential card fees for foreign transactions before your trip. Some companies charge for specific types of transactions, so you’ll want to know what you’ll actually be spending.
- Ask if your transaction will be processed in U.S. dollars or the local currency. If the merchant plans to charge you in U.S. dollars, they may be providing you with currency conversion for a fee. While it may be nice to know your exact purchase amount in U.S. dollars, you may end up paying more than you have to. Ask what the currency conversion fee is and know that you can decline that service.
By planning ahead, you can make your trip as hassle free as possible.