How to organize a money plan before traveling abroad.

Not all that long ago, traveler’s checks or the local currency were the primary payment methods used by international travelers. Today’s travelers have many more options – credit cards, debit cards, and ATMs have upped the convenience level considerably. Paring down to a few methods is best, and taking these five steps ahead of time can help you avoid problems.

Call your card companies before you leave

Let them know when you will be abroad, and where you will be going. This should prevent the worst-case scenario of your card being cancelled after the first time you use it because the foreign transaction looks suspicious.

Bring a little local currency

You’ll need some of the local currency to pay for cabs, tips, snacks while touring and other incidentals. Save money by buying it ahead of time at your bank rather than at an airport or hotel at your destination. A good rule of thumb is to take with you $50 (US dollar equivalent) per person per day.

Keep a just-in-case list

Write down the international phone numbers you will need in case of lost or stolen credit cards. Pack this document separately from your cards and keep it in a safe place so you can report theft quickly.

Ask about fees

Make sure you ask your card companies and your bank about any foreign transaction fees or withdrawal fees at international ATMs so you know what to expect.

Use the two-method method

In most countries, you will be able to use major credit cards, a debit card, an ATM card, and the local currency. Carry at least two of these methods of payment with you so you’re covered for any eventuality.

And remember, once you have arrived at your destination, be sure you carry with you only the cash you’ll need for that day.

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