You might want to consider these important money tips for travelers before heading out that door!
Great news! The American dollar is currently worth more abroad than in nearly a decade… Here are some important money tips for travelers that will help stretch that buck even further…
Cash vs. Plastic
First things first: Cash or plastic? Your best bet is both. In today’s modern world, you can use credit or debit cards for almost anything, but for street vendors, taxis, and public transit you’ll likely need the paper stuff.
Three Things to Have in Your Wallet:
1. A Charles Schwab Debit Card
Access to cash is key, and by opening a Charles Schwab checking account, you’ll pay no ATM fees anywhere in the world. You’ll be issued a Visa debit card with chip technology for fraud protection and increased usability. There’s no minimum balance, and the great smartphone/iPhone app allows you to transfer money, check balances and withdrawals, and keep track of ATM rebates from anywhere in the world. Charles Schwab is currently offering $100 to new clients that have been referred by account holders. Just comment below, and we’ll have them send you the link!
2. A Credit Card with “No Foreign Transaction Fees”
You’ll typically use this card for almost everything: shopping, restaurants, transportation, reservations, etc. It guarantees the best daily exchange rate, and you’ll avoid paying normal foreign transaction fees of 1% to 3% on all your purchases. And by using a credit card, you’re keeping your cash flow available for when it’s needed most.
Check with your current credit card provider and see if they charge foreign transaction fees. If they do, use this opportunity to shop for a new card that’s offering free airline miles for signing up! Our favorite sites are Million Mile Secrets and The Point Guy. You might want check out our secrets to flying free, here.
3. Local Currency
Although your credit cards can be used for almost everything, it’s wise to keep some of that paper money on hand as well… Since most transportation options from the airport, train or bus station will require cash, go straight to the ATM and use your Charles Schwab card. Again, you’ll get the best exchange rate, and avoid the awkward surprise when arriving in your destination with a taxi driver that only accepts cash.
Another thing to note: Although you can use US dollars in some countries, you’ll typically be given an awful exchange rate, so get that local money!
More Money Tips for Travelers
VAT Refunds in Europe
VAT, or Value-Added Tax is added to most goods when shopping in the European Union, and varies from 8%-27%, depending on the country. Although you’re required to pay the taxes upfront, many shops will include paperwork needed for a refund with your receipt. Save these documents and apply for your refund at the airport before leaving the EU.
In America, we accept tipping for good service as a part of daily life, but in many countries, it is neither customary nor expected. Before adding twenty percent to that bill, check this guide for tip customs in the country you’re visiting.
Making sure that you’re always paying a fair conversion rate can be stressful, especially when traveling to multiple countries with varying currencies… We love the Units Plus Converter, a free app that updates to the correct conversion rates daily.
Traveling abroad is exciting and safe, but you never known when some good travel insurance could come in handy. World Nomads offers the best coverage in the business, is affordable, and is quick to act should something go wrong. For more info, check out our recent on World Nomads blog post.