13 Tips for Traveling Using a Credit Card
Traveling using a credit card abroad or even to another state requires smart use and wariness. The last thing you want is to have your credit card stolen when you’re away from home. However, there are several great reasons why people use credit cards to travel. We’ll go over them as well as useful tips to safeguard your information.
13 Tips for Traveling Using a Credit Card
1. Carry a Backup Card
Not all credit cards are accepted everywhere. You want to carry a backup card if your main card is Discover, American Express, or another limited card. You’ll have a wider acceptance with a Visa card or a MasterCard. So, it’s a good idea to carry one as a backup. You don’t want to get stranded and have no way to get funding when you travel.
2. Let Your Issuer Know You Plan to Travel
Credit cards regularly monitor for fraud. If they suspect it, they could freeze your account. It’s a good idea to contact them and tell them what your destination is. You also want to tell them the dates you plan to travel. They can note your account, so they don’t mistakenly think that it’s fraudulent transactions. This is also the time to check for any ATM or daily spending limits. Do this if you plan to travel abroad or even to another state.
3. Get a Card Without a Foreign Transaction Fee
Traveling using a credit card abroad can be expensive, especially if you have a foreign transaction fee. This fee automatically adds to your bill each time you use your card through a non-US bank. This includes ATMs and purchases. Travel for two weeks, and you may have an unpleasant surprise when you open your bill the next month. These fees usually range from one to three-percent, per transaction.
4. Keep Your Issuer Contact Information Accessible
Some issuers don’t require that you call them before traveling. However, you want to get their contact information before you leave. Most 1-800 numbers don’t work outside of the United States or Canada. You’ll want to call and write this information down and keep in easily accessible. This is in case if you lose your credit card. You’re going to need your card when you travel, and you don’t want to get stuck without it.
5. Check for Traveling Perks
Did you know that some cards have perks specifically set aside for traveling? Check for concierge service, discounted travel insurance, late hotel checkouts, and emergency evacuation insurance. These things can really help you in the event of an emergency. They can save you money and make your travel more enjoyable. Not all cards are the same, so it’s a good idea to double check.
6. Keep Emergency Cash Stashed Away
It’s a good idea to keep a stash of emergency cash when you travel. Keep this in your hotel room somewhere or in your luggage. You don’t want to carry it with your card. If your card is stolen in your purse, you’ll have cash to travel and get home. You may want to carry a small amount of cash with you for vendors as well.
7. Check Into Card-Based Travel Insurance Benefits
Traveling using a credit card can entitle you to card-based travel insurance benefits. Some cards will reimburse you personal hygiene products or clothing for delayed or lost luggage. Other cards will give you discounted or free meals for delayed flights. Things like trip reimbursement for canceled or interrupted trips are also great. Traveling can be expensive, and having these benefits can give you a safety net.
8. Stay Alert to Potential Fraud
Traveling using credit cards opens you up to fraud. You want to watch for credit card skimmers on ATMs. Also, watch for any suspicious activity. It can be more difficult to spot it if you’re in a foreign country. However, staying vigilant is essential to preventing fraud with you card. Just be very aware of your surroundings and pay attention to where and when you use your card.
9. Use a Travel Rewards Card
You want to earn as many rewards as possible when you use your card. This is where having a travel rewards card can come in handy. When you use it to travel, you can get more benefits. Things like greater cash back, more miles, and a higher earning potential are all possible. These perks vary from travel card to travel card, so you want to double check.
10. Get Your Card’s Specific App
It can be very easy to lose track of what you spend when you travel. You don’t want to hit any daily limits and get stuck either. Downloading your card’s app to your phone gives you a quick way to monitor it. You can log into the app anywhere there is public Wi-Fi. You’ll be able to check your balance, recent transactions, and how much is left on the card.
11. Update Your Card
Traveling using a credit card can take you around the world. However, you want to make sure that your card will work wherever you go. Although chip technology is relatively new in the US, it’s not in Europe. If you don’t have a chip card, check that your destination will allow you to use just a magnetic strip. If not, you may want to consider upgrading while traveling using a credit card.
12. Schedule Your Payments
You don’t want to fall behind with your payments when you travel. If it’s possible, schedule your payments ahead of time. If you have more than one payment, try to schedule them close together. Also, make sure that you have money in your account it cover the payment amount. This can make traveling using credit cards less stressful. It’ll also help keep your credit history in good shape.
13. Consider the Exchange Rates
Traveling using a credit card is one way to take advantage of local exchange rates. Your money can go further with a card then it would cash exchanges or ATM exchanges. It’s a good idea to take advantage of this with your larger purchases. Pay for things like your hotel room or rental car with your card. Keep your smaller purchases in cash.
These 13 tips for traveling using a credit card can all work to save you money. Being vigilant and using your cards in a smart manner will all help you enjoy your vacation. Double check your cards and do your homework before you leave for your destination.