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  • Writer's pictureMike Sullivan

How To Get Your Money When You're On Vacation

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

You’re ready to hit the road to grand adventures all over the world. Here are a few tips about money matters before you go.

1. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans. If you don’t, they may freeze your credit cards while you are trying to buy some paprika in Budapest or Mozart balls in Salzburg. You can call your bank or credit card company or do it online.

2. Use a credit card without foreign transaction fees. You can check online or call your card company. You will most likely need to use a card with a chip (most are nowadays). Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted while American Express isn’t accepted everywhere, but is accepted in higher-end establishments.

3. Use an ATM that is affiliated with a bank to get cash. Do not use an exchange booth because they charge super high rates. Make sure your card is in one of the networks (look for the logo on the back of your card). To get the best rate use a debit card.

An aside: I always get some currency before I go abroad because I don’t want the hassle of hunting for an ATM. Not a lot of money- about $100. That’s just me.

4. Use local currency whenever possible. It’s quicker and easier to buy small stuff with cash. Once I tried to pay a restaurant bill in Budapest in Euros instead of the local currency (forints) and they wanted 50% more money. Just get enough local money to get by.

5. Take time to figure out the local currency. Take a careful look at the money and denominations. Some bills are actually made of plastic! Figure out what a dollar is worth and go from there. Euros are easy to convert in your head, but some other currencies are a brain strain. So, use a currency converter like Currency Converter Plus Free with Accurate.

6. Spend your remaining cash at the airport if you have just a little left. Buy some weird candy, an odd souvenir or food and drink. If you bring your cash home, you won't get much for it. If you have some Euros, I'd keep those for your next trip.

7. Keep a cash stash for emergencies. Hide a $100 bill or an extra credit card just in case. I keep mine in my toiletries case in a little side pocket. If it’s missing, I know who to look for!

Finally, you may want to wear a money belt. Don’t put your wallet in your hip pocket. Carry your purse across your body. Don’t flash money in public.

Take photocopies of your passport Identification page and current visa stamps and keep it in a safe place. Take a sharp picture of your passport with your cell phone camera just in case.

" When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money." -Attributed to Susan Heller

When you're ready to plan your next vacation, talk to me here!

Article content credit goes to Travelocity and Clark Howard.

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