Notify your bank & credit card company – Credit Card (CC) companies have a number of checks in place to help protect you from fraud. Unfortunately, these safeguards can be a real nightmare if you forget to notify your bank/CC company that you’ll be leaving the country: be sure to call and notify them that you’ll be traveling before you leave. If they start to see a lot of charges from a foreign location, they may put a hold on your card thinking it has been stolen. Make sure to provide the dates you’ll be gone as well as the countries you expect to visit. There is nothing worse than trying to get a replacement credit card while on the road. Informing them is easy, just dial the number on the back of your card and speak to a representative. It will take less than 5 minutes.Know your Credit Card Pin – If you’re an America, you probably don’t know that your Credit Card has a PIN # just like your ATM/Checking card. Why? Because you’ve never had to use it in the US. Be forewarned, that’s not the case in Europe. Most European Credit Card transactions require that you enter your PIN # when making every day credit card purchases, just as you would when making a checking/debit purchase in the US. So, before you leave make sure you double check/set your Credit Card PIN.
Currency Exchanges – Exchange booths are expensive and take a fee. They also tend to give outdated currency values. I avoid these if at all possible. By using ATMs and following the advice I’ve outlined for reducing ATM fees I’m able to get the best currency exchange rate possible. When you use an ATM to withdraw funds, you will typically receive a better, more up to date, and fairer exchange rate.
Small Purchases – For many of us, we’ve begun to use our Credit Cards for all of our purchases. These include small ones – sometimes even those under $1. It is important to note that many countries still add a fee, or prohibit the use of Credit Cards for smaller transactions. This will vary from country to country, but make sure you have some extra spending cash on hand just in case.