As WalletBe works to expand into the travel accessory market, we figured it would be a good time to cover some travel tips. Since we’re absurdly proud of our front pocket wallets and card wallets, we figured we’d start with some overseas advice for your credit card. In the current day environment, it’s no longer common to use traveler's checks. Instead, that handy-dandy credit card nestled in your current wallet is the answer to all of your monetary worries overseas. For day-to-day purchases, like food and the vitamin-C you’ll have to buy after getting sick on the plane, you’ll be able to use your credit card with ease. This should be standard for pretty much any city you’re going to visit, from Rome to Dubai. If you’re headed away from the city, and credit card scanners in general, you’re going to want to pull some cash.
If you’re concerned about oddities in regards to usage when traveling abroad, just be sure you’re following these rules and you’ll do just fine.
1.Don’t Put Your Eggs In One Basket
When you’re considering a card to bring with you, consider more than one. We’ve all had it happen, where we try to pay for dinner and then our card is declined, even when it has money on it. Imagine how disastrous this would be in a foreign country. Travel is already pretty stressful, why would you want to exasperate that part of this experience? Bring your card that promises extra rewards for travel spending categories like hotel, transport, and restaurants. Just be sure those bonus awards apply overseas, and you should have a nice boost in points upon your return. Be sure the cards you’re intending to slide into that front pocket wallet are either a Mastercard or Visa. Discover will be accepted the least overseas, so think twice about including that card. The only place it’s widely accepted outside of the U.S. would be China and Japan.
2. Communication is Key
This should be a no-brainer, but tell your bank you’re going somewhere. One of the worst things that could happen is that you get locked out of your account when your bank catches a charge from a store in Paris, when you live in South Dakota. This is usually no problem when you’re in the States because you just connect the dots and give your bank a call. But if you’re overseas, chances are your phone capabilities are extremely limited. Whether it’s from issues with reception or from your phone carrier’s threats to charge you around $20 per minute, you won’t be able to just tell your bank that it’s you. So tell them before you go and avoid a travel catastrophe.
3. Understand The Transactions
The American dollar currently residing in you accordion wallet is not the strongest currency at this time. This makes travel even more expensive than it could’ve been. With that in mind, you should at least keep up on the conversion rates for whatever currency you’re in need of. When using your card, you’ll see foreign transaction fees pop up on your statement and they can be pretty high at times. Three percent is the usual rate, which can climb pretty high after enough transactions. So grab a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and avoid the hassle all together. The other thing you should keep in mind is avoiding dynamic currency conversion. At this point, it lets you use U.S. dollars instead of the local currency when completing a transaction. This idea is that you’ll have a better idea what it’s costing you, but it’s much more expensive than the regular option. Instead, just let your bank convert the purchase for your statement. You’ll see dynamic currency options appear in the form of “see your total is dollars.”
4. Pin Vs. Signature
We’re sure you’re aware that the EMV chip card you’re currently using is a European design. It’s purpose is to make it more difficult to access your information on the card. The innovation proved ineffective fairly quickly, hence the RFID shield update in wallets. This will, however, make it much easier for you to use your card overseas. Just be sure you understand the chip-and-pin cards which will be what most self-serve kiosks require, rather than your current chip-and-signature. You can ask your card provider for one of these cards to make sure your spending isn’t limited in anyway while overseas.
5. Protection Included?
Be sure that your card provider has travel protection. This offers peace of mind in the event of delayed flights, lost luggage, trip cancellation, accident insurance, and more. Sometimes regular providers include this in their contracts, but you’ll almost certainly find them in cards that are earning you miles for every one of your trips.
With these tips under your belt, you’re ready to have the best travel experience after sliding those cards into your new card wallet. Be sure to check out our travel accessories and more in the WalletBe catalog.