Let’s be honest. Traveling is an adventure, but unfortunately, traveling can become a misadventure too. There are always things that have the chance of going wrong while you’re on your travels. Of all of those bad scenarios, there are few more serious than those based on money. This contributed post offers tips on how to track finances on your travels.
Tips: How to Track Finances on Your Travels
Traveling is one of the most wonderful things that you can do with your time. It offers you the chance to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, and gain a better understanding of your place in the world as a whole. Of course, it can also be the cause of a fair amount of stress with flight delays, lost luggage, and just finding your way in a different country. Managing your financing when traveling (either for business or pleasure) shouldn’t add to your stress. Nor should it be any more difficult than when you manage your finances at home.
If you end up struggling with your finances while traveling, your magical vacation can turn into a nightmare. In order to make sure that that doesn’t happen, here are a few ways to make sure you’re always keeping track of your finances on your travels.
Notify Your Bank and Credit Card Companies
Before leaving, call each bank and tell them which countries you will be visiting and for how long. The bank will put a “travel notice” in your account so that when you do use your card, the bank won’t automatically assume those transactions made abroad are fraudulent.
Even with the travel notice, sometimes it happens that the bank will still consider a transaction fraudulent (especially if it is a big purchase or looks like unusual activity), and block your card. For this reason, it’s always good to have a backup bank account and/or credit card.
TravelingInHeels.com TIP: Many travelers carry their debit card, but I actually recommend leaving that card at home when traveling. I prefer not giving anyone the opportunity to access my cash through my debit card. Instead, I’ll bring an additional credit card as I’d rather file a report for fraudulent use of my credit than my cash.
It’s a good idea to know where you’ll be able to get money from on your travels. Things, like trying to find international branches of your bank or checking sites like AirportBanking in advance, can be incredibly helpful.
Make sure that you do your research for fees charged when withdrawing money or foreign transaction fees using your credit card while you’re abroad. The best thing that you can do is to talk to your bank to find out in advance what their fees and charges will be when traveling.
Say Hello to Your BFF – Your Smartphone
Managing your finances from overseas shouldn’t be any harder than how you manage them at home. With today’s technology, you can make transactions from the other side of the world, just as if you were right at your preferred financial institution’s branch. And you can use your smartphone!
I carry my Samsung 8 wherever I go, and I have T-Mobile as my career. That means I’m lucky as I can take advantage of their Simple Choice Plan. This gives me unlimited international data coverage and texting included with a qualifying plan at no extra charge. It’s just 20 cents per minute for calls to mobile devices and landlines. Although I do have to watch those phone calls, as 20 cents per minute adds up quickly.
When booking my hotels, I usually only patronize hotels offering FREE Wi-Fi. That way, when the Wi-Fi signal is strong (and free), I cut costs by calling home with free Wi-Fi calls. Of course, I also log-on Wi-Fi to download and read emails, browse social media, etc.
For information on figuring out the basics of making and receiving international mobile phone calls, SmarterTraveler offers this International Cell Phone Guide.
Have an emergency stash
A lot of people are often pretty worried about the idea of traveling with a large amount of money but having at least a little bit tucked away for emergencies can make a big difference. Sure, you don’t want to have piles of notes filling up your suitcase, but a reserve of cash tucked away somewhere safe and hidden means that you’re never caught without any cash. Plus it means that you don’t have to deal with fees for paying on the credit card if there’s some kind of emergency.
Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is one of those things that far too many people end up entirely forgetting about at their own risk. Sure, the reality is that it’s pretty unlikely that anything will go wrong while you’re traveling. Yet it’s far better (not to mention cheaper) to have insurance and not need it than for something to happen and end up not having the money to deal with it.
Plus, travel insurance is usually pretty cheap. You can generally get a decent level of cover without having to worry about how much of an impact it’s going to have on your wallet.
Peace of Mind When Track Finances on Your Travels
Of course, other things can go wrong while you’re traveling, but as long as you’re keeping your finances intact then you’re never going to be in a position where you can’t deal with any issue that might come along. That way, while you’re never going to be 100% that nothing will go wrong, it’s less likely that your trip will be ruined if it does.
How do you track finances on your travels?