It’s finally time for you to go on that big trip you’ve been waiting for. Your bags are packed, the flights are booked and you’re ready to go. But before you hop on that flight, there’s one more thing to sort out—how you’re going to handle your money while traveling.
Don’t worry—the Credit.com editorial team has some ideas to help you out. Here’s what you need to know about handling money while traveling.
1. Slim Down Your Wallet
If you’re like most people, chances are that your wallet is full of non-essentials. Make sure that you whittle it down to just the necessities. While that gift card or gym membership card comes in handy at home, you probably won’t need it while you’re traveling.
Keep things simple by carrying a couple of cards, your ID and some cash. This’ll prevent you from fumbling around in your wallet for cash or a card, which makes you an easy target for thieves. Plus, there’s nothing more tempting than a thick wallet for local pickpockets.
2. Credit Cards Are a No Brainer, But Beware of Use Fees
When you use a credit card on your travels, you don’t have to worry about running out of money for goods and services. Credit cards also offer a level protection that cash just can’t. If your credit card is lost or stolen, you won’t be responsible any charges you didn’t make. It’s worth checking with your credit card provider to learn about their policy trip insurance or to see if they have any travel discounts.
Unfortunately, there is a downside of using credit cards—foreign transaction fees. It’s not unusual for credit card companies to charge fees for every swipe in a foreign country. Those fees can add up big time. Make sure to check with your bank for specifics. However, you can use international travel credit cardsif you’re constantly globetrotting.
3. Cash Has its Benefits—But it’s Got Drawbacks, Too
There’s a stigma around carrying cash while you’re traveling. It’s definitely one of the easiest ways to make purchases while you’re traveling. If you can figure out how much you’ll need to spend on travel, cash isn’t a bad idea. Making one trip to the ATM is probably the fastest way to handle money while you’re on a trip.
On the other hand, taking out a huge wad of cash could be a big safety issue. It’s safer to make multiple trips to an ATM, and to only carry what you need in case your wallet gets stolen. Also, keep in mind that your bank might charge you a foreign transaction fee to take out cash. Check with your bank before taking money out and learn some credit and debit card tips for overseas travelers.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Fanny Packs
Okay, maybe not necessarily fanny packs—even though they are having a major fashion comeback. But don’t eliminate the convenience of other storage accessories. While purses or backpacks may be your go-to traveling accessory, their easy access makes them a big target for thieves.
Consider using something that will keep your precious belongings close to your body. There are plenty of options for on-body storage accessories, such as money belts, body pouches and other under garments with money storage. The closer you keep your money to your body, the harder it is for thieves to swipe.
5. Give Prepaid Travel Cards a Try
When you think of making money arrangements for your travels, a prepaid travel credit cardprobably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. But they’re becoming more and more popular, and may be worth looking into for your next trip. While details vary from bank to bank, prepaid travel cards generally work the same way.
You can purchase your prepaid travel card either online or at your bank. From there, you’ll be able to activate and register your card, then load it with however much money you want. You can add more later online, if your card is reloadable.
It’s important to remember that prepaid travel cards are pretty different from credit cards. You’ll need to keep track of how much you spend, since your card is loaded with a fixed amount of money. Also, you’ll need to reload your prepaid travel card every time you run out.
6. Bring Two Cards with You—Just in Case
It might be tempting to bring just one credit or debit card with you while you’re traveling. However, bringing two cards with you is the smarter choice. If your debit or credit card is the only form of payment you’ll have while traveling, losing the only card you brought could put you in a tough situation. You can keep your cards safeby only bringing one card while you’re out and about and leaving the other in a safe place in your hotel room, like a hotel safe.
If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of identity theft while you were on vacation, keep an eye on your credit score. You can check your credit score for free on Credit.com