Whether it's business or pleasure, taking a credit card with you on international trips can make travel easier. Cash is king, but a credit card enables you to safely access funds while keeping your resources secure.
However, there are some precautions when traveling with plastic. Here are some tips and thoughts on travelling with a credit card.
- Make a list of your card account numbers and bank phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen, or if you face any unforeseen snags. Bring a copy of the list with you, and leave one in your desk drawer at home or in a password-protected location online.
- Pack some local currency for smaller expenses such as taxis and street snacks. You don’t need to carry much cash since you can use your card to withdraw more funds while abroad, but it’s always wise to have spending money in the correct currency as soon as you arrive.
- Let your bank’s credit card division know your travel plans, as an unusual location may be flagged.
- Your card may already have a purchase protection plan in place. Otherwise it's a good idea to purchase insurance in case of loss, theft or damage.
- Double-check your credit limit and card expiration date. Don't ruin your trip by discovering that you’re unable to pay for various vacation expenses once you’re already overseas, e.g. hotels and car rental companies often place a hold on your card for anticipated charges, which may tie up your credit. It will be released if you are not required to pay the charges, but you should be mindful of how it may impact your spending.
- Carry proper identification (such as your passport) to ensure that all foreign merchants accept your card.
- Use a cellphone app to quickly convert local currency into Rands and determine the exact price of an item. It'll help you stay on budget.
- Carry one credit card. Using a single card will make it easier to budget and to track your spending when you return home.
- Keep all receipts and documentation of overseas transactions in a safe place. This makes it easier to ensure there are no unusual charges when you get your statement.
Plastic makes travel a lot safer and easier. With a bit of planning ahead, you’ll be able to get on with your business or pleasure without fussing about funds. Bon voyage.