You budgeted to make the most of your money while you’re overseas after months of saving for the trip. You contrasted hotel and Airbnb costs. You evaluated a rail pass. You’ve discovered the comprehensive combo ticket.
Choosing the best bargain is important at all times, particularly when deciding whether to pay with cash or a credit card.
NerdWallet consulted some seasoned travellers and a consumer advocate for advice on how to responsibly use your cards when travelling. Here is how they manage currency exchange fees.
use a card with no fees
You normally pay a fee to change your currency when you swipe a debit or credit card in another nation; this fee is frequently 3% of the purchase price or the amount you withdraw. Yet, a greater percentage of cards are removing these fees. Consider enrolling before your trip if you don’t already have one of each type.
“I always make sure to bring a credit card with no international transaction fees when I travel. That is unavoidable. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie, who blogs about her travels at The Globetrotting Teacher, claims that it is constantly in her wallet.
With debit cards, there are three types of costs you can encounter: a fee for the currency conversion, a fee from your bank for using an ATM overseas, and an additional fee from the ATM of the foreign bank. Yet, some debit cards waive foreign transaction costs and won’t charge you to use an ATM in a different country. Additionally, some, like Lisa Marquardt’s, will pay back any ATM fees that other banks may charge you.
“I used a machine in Kosovo last year that charged 7 euros. Sure enough, they gave it back,” claims Marquardt, who blogs at The Hot Flash Packer about her own travel experiences.
According to Joseph Ridout, a spokesman for the nonprofit advocacy organisation Consumer Action, some credit cards with no international transaction fees have exorbitant annual fees, so if you don’t travel frequently, be aware of this. Take a look at your travel spending plan and “balance any costs with the possible savings,” the author advises.
Perhaps you can save without getting a special card. Some of these benefits may come with your current credit or debit card if you have a premium account with your bank.
Outside of the United States, it can be challenging to find businesses that will accept Discover, but other cards are more commonly used. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are frequently accepted by foreign retailers.
You should always have some cash on hand, but you might not need as much as you think. Credit cards function rather well in the majority of nations nowadays. According to AJ Ratani and Natasha Sandhir, co-authors of “How to Travel With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind),” “We probably use credit cards on 80% of our journeys.
have a decision? Spend with the local money.
The merchant may inquire as to whether you choose to pay in U.S. dollars or the local currency when you use a card to make a purchase. Although it would seem like the natural choice to use US cash, Ridout advises against it.
Do it in local money, he advises. “The cost of dollars will increase. It’s a cunning technique for banks and businesses to profit from you a little bit more.
Do not exchange money at the airport
Although using a credit card to pay for lodging and food may be the most convenient option, you’ll likely need cash for tips and haggling at the market. Where do you obtain it then?
According to Sills-Dellegrazie, “I absolutely would not recommend converting currency at (an airport currency exchange)”. Don’t do it, please.
According to Ratani, the currency exchange companies that line the arrivals area charge up to a 15% premium to convert your money, making debit card ATM fees seem like a bargain. He advises using the ATM at the airport rather than going to your accommodation.