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Living with credit, Protecting yourself

Traveling smart with your credit card

Emily Crone

Now that I’ve completed my series of credit card tales from Europe (that image is of me in Scotland) and warned you of everything from pay potties to overpriced ATM fees, I want to share some additional credit card travel tips — this time from others.

Citi’s credit education program, Use Credit Wisely, e-mailed me some great financial travel tips:

emily-scotland.jpg1. Set a daily budget: It’s exciting to visit a new place, but between the sightseeing, dining out and buying souvenirs for you and your loved ones, it’s easy for expenses to get out of hand. Set a daily budget for yourself by dividing your budget for the entire trip by the number of days you’ll be away. You will get a clearer understanding of exactly how much money you can spend per day.

2. Only pack what’s necessary: From clothes to your credit cards, try to streamline what you take with you on your trip. Limit the number of credit cards you carry. Be sure to take an extra credit card with a separate account number and leave it in your hotel safe as a back-up.

3. Keep your credit card issuer informed: Before traveling abroad, let your credit card issuer know when and where you’ll be going for added protection and access to your credit overseas. Also, familiarize yourself with the overseas terms of your credit card.

4. Paper or plastic? In this situation, it’s better to go with  plastic. Credit cards offer great benefits for travel. They are safer than carrying cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen, and are accepted at millions of locations worldwide. Traveling with a credit card also means you can keep a close eye on your recent transactions by accessing your statement online 24/7, from anywhere with Internet access.

5. In case of emergency: Credit cards can provide added protection such as emergency travel assistance, travel accident insurance and account monitoring against fraud.

6. Travel comfortably: Do you really want to sit on the plane for hours with a wad of cash in your back pocket? Rest assured, traveling with a credit card will alleviate the stress of having to travel with hundreds of dollars with you.

Several of those in the blogosphere provide other great ideas about traveling and money:

-Accumulating Money explains how to make the most of your credit card travel rewards program.

-Frugal Bachelor had a frustrating currency experience while traveling abroad. I had no idea our cash was so scrutinized in other countries!

-Money and Investing recommends using your airline miles right now, before the airlines have the chance to change the reward program and further decrease award travel seats.

Queercents recommends getting an airline card in addition to taking budget airline flights instead of increasingly expensive train rides when in Europe. I love trains, but I did take a 60 euro plane ride with a budget carrier from England to Germany. I took an overnight train that cost 120 euro.

-Two Pennies Earned provides a comprehensive list of inexpensive airplane and train alternatives.

-My Dollar Plan lists 12 tips to help you prepare your finances before you leave for a vacation.

-Student Scrooge uses an unfortunate example to explain the importance of staying on top of your frequent flier miles.

See related: Credit card postcards from Europe: Vol. I, Credit card postcards from Europe: Vol. II, Credit card postcards from Europe: Vol. III, Credit card postcards from Europe: Vol. IV

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