Travel Methods: Money Services

One of the most basic travel resources is money services. You need a way to pay for things on your travels. This could be cash, card, or e-payment. Most often, it’s some combination of these options, but the thing is not all money services are created equal. Depending on the type of travel, length of stay, and what’s included in pre-paid vacation packages, the best choice of money services may be different. If you’re staying in the U.S., it’s no big deal. But if you’re traveling internationally, here are some of the things you should think about when choosing your plan. Get the best value and the best security for money services with these tips.

Learn to Love ATM Fees

ATM fees can be annoying when spending money in your own neighborhood, but they’re often among the best ways to get money while traveling internationally. If you’re card is on the same international network(s) as the ATM, it may cost you only a few dollars—or more like $5-$10 including your own bank’s fees—to withdraw cash. You won’t have to travel with large sums of money or lose money through the exchange rate. Plan wisely and you won’t have to pay these ATM fees too often, but still feel comfortable walking around with cash in your pocket.

Research the Money Services at Your Destination

Depending on where you’re going, you can expect different types of costs and reliability for basic money services. When traveling around the EU, we found a little extra legwork and scouting for ATM can be important to find the right network with reasonable ATM fees. When traveling throughout southeast Asia, we’ve found the ATMs delivered spotty service, especially outside of major cities. The upside is that there tend to be generous currency exchange rates. Here are some other basic money services tips when traveling abroad.

Make Money Payments Easy within Your Group

If you’re traveling with a group of friends, you may find a little extra leeway by having an easy and free way to transfer money amongst yourselves. Someone may end up spending more than they intended, while someone else ends up not spending as much as they thought. You may realize someone’s ATM card can be used for a much smaller fee than yours—or your ATM card may not be working at all. With Zelle, Venmo, Paypal or other online payment service, you can pay people back on the spot.

Notify Your Bank and Credit Cards

You’ll want to notify your bank and credit card that you’ll be traveling internationally so that the charges you legitimately authorize don’t get flagged and denied. It’s also a good idea to monitor your bank account while traveling internationally. It’s not just the risk of your financial information getting exposed abroad. Your account and credit card number may also be susceptible to fraud back home—whether it’s a thief, family member, or house-sitter. Some banks offer integrated e-banking platforms that allow consumers to monitor their account, complete personal payment transfers, and other online banking services.

Choose Your Credit Card Wisely

Figure out what credit card you’re going to use. This may very well be different than your normal credit card, or it may even be a special credit card you use just for travel. Likewise, this credit card will deliver rewards points or other loyalty-based incentives—this much is standard for most cards nowadays—but you should also look for common travel-based credit card protections. Travel insurance, rental car insurance, no foreign transaction fees.