Picking the best method of payment before you travel could make your trip or holiday less stressful.
While you may find your credit card accepted in many destinations in Africa, Europe and the US, dollars or euros in cash could come in handy in some parts.
Here’s how to take the financial hassle out of travel.
- Use currency cards
Prepaid travel cards, also known as currency cards, allow you to load them with the forex you wish to have before you travel and use it as you would a debit card or withdraw cash as necessary. And because they’re pre-loaded, it allows you to control your spending.
Apply for one from your bank or to if they don’t offer such services, they will direct you where to get one from. In case of cash withdrawal at an ATM, travel cards usually have a set fee of about $2 per withdrawal.
- Comply with regulations
If you live in a country with any type of foreign currency restrictions, make it clear when applying for the travel card some that it is meant for use strictly on your foreign travels. Proof of identity could be required.
- Inform your bank
Notify your bank when you are travelling and to what region of the world you are headed, so that they don’t block transactions on your card when or if they become suspicious of unusual transaction locations.
- Separate cards
If you are travelling with a partner, have separate cards and split your cash between you. If one of you is robbed, you will still have money on you for your needs.
- Leave a paper trail
Leave the details of your debit card or prepaid travel card with a trusted person back home.
If you need to report them stolen, you will have access to the relevant information. This goes for your passport and other relevant papers too. Scan and upload then on your universal cloud based e-mail.
- Free your flow
Use a separate card for pre-authorisation payments such as advance hotel and car hire bookings. It is standard practise for such companies to block funds on your card as part of the pre-authorisation process to ensure that the funds are available when you come to pay.
The problem is that they usually unblock these funds several days after you have paid, limiting the amount you have to spend on the rest of the travel. If you are using a travel card, give the hotel or car hire company your credit card for preauthorisation.
- Withdraw large denominations
There is a cost to withdrawing cash, which includes the currency conversion fee, your bank’s transaction fee and the foreign bank’s fee. The foreign bank charges an additional fee for using their ATM network of $2.