Heading Abroad? 5 Things To Do In Advance To Prepare Your Credit Card For The Trip

Posted on: 17 April 2018

Using your credit card during an overseas trips helps protect you and make your time abroad easier. But before you pack your bags and head off, do these five things to save money and time once you leave.

Check Fees and Limits. Understand what your credit card charges for things like international transactions and currency conversion. You should look for a card that carries no international transaction fees. If this is not possible, you can still save money by limiting use of the credit card to ATM transactions to get local cash. Also, check the daily limits so you know how much you can get each time.

Call the Issuer. The last thing you want while in the far-flung corners of the world is to have your card refused. Avoid this by calling your bank or credit card issuer in advance of your trip. Let them know where you'll be (cities or countries) and for what exact dates. 

Get the International Number. While you're on the phone with the issuer to notify them of your trip, be sure to ask for the international assistance number. This may or may not be printed on the back of the card, but enter it into your phone or make another notation in case the card is stolen. Having this handy will be useful if your card does get refused or if you have some emergency involving the card.

Plan to Carry ID. Many countries — especially European ones — have adopted more sophisticated credit card technology than the United States. You will often be able to use your American card but you may need to prove your identification. You may need to carry your passport with you for this purpose, so prepare a safe way to do so. You may also be able to provide a photocopy of your passport, so make two copies of it in advance. 

Keep Some Cash. Even if you plan to use your credit card as much as possible for convenience, do make a point to always have a little cash on you. You may run into problems using an American credit card or want to purchase goods at small vendors that operate in cash (especially in remote areas with few tourists). In addition, you don't want to be so broke that you end up using a sketchy ATM because you have to withdraw cash. 

Put these simple suggestions into practice before you leave for your trip, and you'll reduce stress and keep your costs lower while you enjoy your time abroad.