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When planning a trip abroad, there are many things to get excited about: seeing the sites, staying in hotels, and, of course, trying local cuisine. Be prepared by making sure your credit card can help you pay for all the fun experiences you have planned by considering the tips below:
Call your credit card company to let them know when and where you’ll be traveling. This can prevent your credit card company from viewing your charges as suspicious and declining them because they’re made in another country. Your pre-departure conversation with your credit card company is also a good time to ask about foreign transaction fees and a phone number that will work internationally if your credit card is lost or stolen.
Improve your chances of being able to pay with credit cards by finding out which credit card brands are more popular in your destination country. Also be aware that other places may have additional criteria around credit card acceptance. In Europe, for instance, some merchants and machines may only accept “smart cards” encrypted with a chip or personal identification number (PIN), which most U.S. card companies don’t offer yet. This could limit the ATMs you can use, so it may be wise to carry a small amount of cash on you. Also look into the currency exchange rate so you know what you’re paying in U.S. dollars.
It’s easier to keep track of one credit card and store a second back-up credit card in a separate place in case you lose your primary card. It’s also wise to store financial information on an encrypted USB flash drive along with your passport. That way, if your card is lost or stolen, you’ll have access to account numbers and toll-free customer service numbers. When you go out, consider carrying your wallet in your front pocket or using a hidden belt, as your back pocket is an easy target for pickpockets.
Preparing for the financial aspects of your vacation may not be the most entertaining part of trip planning. However, just like packing a swimsuit for the tropics or warm layers for the cold, good financial planning can make it a lot easier to enjoy the good stuff.
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