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6 tips for the newbie on traveling abroad with plastic
Today's guest blog is by Geoff Whitmore, lead traveler writer at NoobTraveler.com, a blog dedicated to educating its readers on reward travel, travel tips and cost-saving travel techniques.
Adrenaline races through your veins as you begin to prepare for your first trip overseas. You are already picturing yourself sipping wine in the rolling hills of Tuscany or eating a seven course Michelin meal in France.
Then suddenly, you are struck with the fear of not knowing how you're going to pay for all these memories. Urgent questions arise, such as, "Do shops and hotels take credit cards? Should I stuff a wad of cash in my undergarments? Do I need travelers checks ... and what the heck are they?"
There's already a lot to think about already (like not getting lost or "Can I speak enough French to order a meal that is edible?"). Now instead of being amped, you break out in a cold sweat.
Take a breath and relax. The Noob Traveler is here to help.
I used to be just like you -- a little ball of stress. That's mainly because I used travelers checks when I traveled. Yes, there was a time when people carried with them pieces of paper called travelers checks. Travelers checks have all but disappeared, and I couldn't be happier these are a thing of the past. You used to have to worry if they would be accepted by the foreign establishment, or if there was a fee associated with the check.
I also went with the popular and more stressful practice of carrying around a big fat wad of cash. Who wants that pressure? Not me. I remember the days of stashing my cash on trips, fearful that at any moment I could be robbed and ALL my money would be gone.
Traveling with credit cards = peace of mind
What you need to know before traveling abroad with credit cards:
1. Ditch foreign transaction fees
2. Reward yourself
3. Contact banks before you leave
4. Carry a backup
5. Be ready for chip-and-PIN cards
6. Carry credit card contact phone numbers
In summary, traveling with credit cards can offer you peace of mind and make your travels an overall more pleasant experience. I would still carry small amounts of cash around for unexpected scenarios (they will occur), but the days of worrying about losing all your cash are over. I would advise anyone who is traveling overseas to strongly consider getting a credit card that doesn't charge you a foreign transaction fee. It will save you some serious cash and make your travels a thing of ease. Traveling with credit cards is the most efficient way to travel today ... until mobile payments take over.
They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the CreditCards.com staff.
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