When Traveling Internationally, Remember These 5 Financial Tips


  • Follow these 5 financial tips as you travel internationally in order to maximize your fun rather than your credit card bill.
  • Do research to make sure you understand the exchange rate before you head out on your trip.
  • While traveling abroad, stay away from exchange centers. Use local banks or the ATM instead.
  • Apply for an international travel card before you leave in order to avoid unnecessary fees while you earn rewards.
  • Bring a backup debit or credit card in case of emergencies.
  • Notify your bank about your travel plans to avoid any misunderstandings or holds on your account.

If you’re a frequent international traveler, then you know how important your finances are before and during your trips. But maybe you’re just beginning your international traveling escapades and you need some guidance on what to do before you begin your adventure. Read on to learn 5 financial tips that you must remember while traveling around the globe.

#1: Understand the Exchange Rate Before You Leave

Once you’ve sorted out your itinerary, it’s important to research the exchange rate of the countries you’ll be visiting. You’ll want to do this stateside before you begin your travels. Knowing how the local currency converts to USD will help you determine how much cash to bring.

One of the best currency conversion apps for both Apple and Android users is XE Currency. They also have a website that lets you look up currency exchange rates for virtually every type of currency available. Understanding the exchange rate ahead of time will keep you from overspending or paying heavy exchange rates in a foreign country.

#2: Steer Clear of Exchange Centers

If you didn’t make time to exchange your money at the bank before your trip or need more money while traveling, do not visit the local currency exchange centers. Not only do they offer outdated exchange rates for the current market but they’ll charge a fee for swapping out your money.

You’ll want to locate an ATM and withdraw local currency from there. Make sure you have an international ATM or debit card that will either waive or reimburse any fees you accumulate when using an ATM in another country. You can also exchange your money at local banks which usually offer comparable rates and no fees.

#3: Own a Beneficial Travel Credit Card

A lot of credit card companies come with foreign transaction fees—an added percentage when using a credit card outside of the U.S. A typically transaction fee can hover around 3% per purchase. This really adds up over the course of a day, so you can imagine the damage it’ll cause over weeks.

Make sure you have a quality travel credit card that not only has zero fees for foreign transactions but also offers benefits every time you use it. If you plan on traveling more, you can earn frequent flyer miles or other rewards that can be used toward future trips.

#4: Have an Extra ATM or Credit Card on Deck

Stuff happens all the time so you’ll want to expect the unexpected. Sure it’s a cliche but its words ring true especially when traveling internationally. Make sure you have a backup debit or credit card before you begin your travels.

It has been reported that the most common financial issue that travelers face is losing their card or a lack of access to money. Your local branch will more than likely not be present and it could take up to two weeks for a new card to arrive if you have to order one. Bringing a backup can help you avoid the headache.

#5: Tell your Bank About Your Travel Plans

It’s very important that you let your bank know where you’ll be over the course of your international adventure. It’s your bank’s job to make sure your account is secure and no fraudulent activity is occurring. If they notice that your card is being used around the world and have no knowledge of your whereabouts, they could freeze your accounts.

Ensure them that you are in fact the one making international purchases and give them your most up-to-date information so they can contact you, or vice versa, in case there is an issue. Making sure everyone is on the same page will help eliminate any confusion that may leave you stranded and broke in a foreign country.