Many people assume that using cash in a foreign country is the best way to go. You simply exchange your own currency for that country’s currency, but the reality is that credit cards can save you money before, during and after your trip.
Choose the Right Card
When you use credit cards compared to cash, you need to make sure the card you have is the best. The way to start saving right away is by choosing a card that doesn’t charge you outrageous fees for using it outside of the home country.
There are many overseas credit cards that are designed to be used in foreign country. They don’t charge the fees that the other cards do.
There are also many incentives that different cards have. You can choose a card that accumulates airline miles with every purchase. Every time you go to the grocery store or gas station, you could be earning miles. Airlines allow you to upgrade tickets or even get a free plan ride if you have accumulated enough miles. Other cards allow you to earn cash back on your purchases, so when you spend $200 on a fancy meal on vacation, you can be confident that you’ll get at least a little of that back.
Better Exchange Rates
When you carry cash, then you need to exchange it for local currency. This is done at currency exchanges and banks in the individual countries. When you trade your money for the home currency, the bank charges an exchange rate.
The exchange rates for credit cards are usually considerably lower than the ones associated with a direct money exchange. Credit cards are also safer than cash. If you credit card is stolen, then you can cancel it and have a new one fast-tracked to you. If cash is stolen, then there is little chance of getting your money back.
Credit Card Pitfalls
While credit cards offer a lot of benefits and can save you money, that isn’t to say there aren’t problems. If you are vacationing in a small village or are at a small establishment, then they may not take credit cards. You could order the food, eat it and then find out that you have no way to pay. As a precaution, always keep a little bit of local cash handy for those occasions.
You also have to worry about your information being stolen. People on vacation may not track their transactions as carefully as during a normal month, so when a few questionable transactions appear you may not even notice it. Also, since any fraudulent transactions were done out of the country, it can be difficult to catch the people that stole your information.
There are many great benefits for using credit cards compared to cash while on vacation out of the country, but you also need to be extra careful. Watch for overspending and be careful of thieves.
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