It is smart to use your credit cards while traveling, for many reasons, one in which being that the cards are much safe to use than carrying a bunch of cash, or cashier checks, which if stolen or lost will be very difficult to replace. Travelers checks are often bearable, and do not need any identification to use, such as cash, but they may offer slightly more protection than straight up cash. But there are things that you must consider, and avoid when using your credit cards for traveling, both domestic and abroad.
Factors that you must consider
- Not alerting your credit card company of your trip
- Not making a planned payment
- Foreign fees
- And not having a back up plan
These main points are important, but there are other factors that you need to know about too, but lest look at them closer, to make sure you are aware of just how important they are. When you factor into all the issues that can come up during a trip, it is a good idea to make a checklist and stick to it.
1. Tell Them About Your Trip
Probably the worst thing that you can do is not call your credit card company’s customer service number and tell them your itinerary. The last thing you want to have happen is you get to a foreign destination and set out to use your card and they are flagged as lost or stolen due to the unknown use in a strange place, not only are you going to be embarrassed, but it could be potentially dangerous in that you may be without some essential thing, in a strange and unknown place.
2. Missing a Payment
Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean that your payments stop, if you do not already, this may be a good time to set up an automatic payment for the month, so that you are sure that the payments are made while you are traveling, in addition, keep all your receipts from all your transactions made during your trip, that way you can compare them the next month to the statements, to make sure that there are no additional charges that you did not make, and if so, you can dispute those and challenge those charges.
3. Foreign Fees
If you are traveling domestic, in your own country, this is less important, but if abroad, outside your home country, you must be aware of any foreign card fees that may apply, first thing you should do is check with your card company. You might just as well inquire while you are on the line with them when you let them know of your travel plans, if the card has any additional fees for the destination that you are going, and if so, see if there is any way to avoid them, or check and see if one of your other cards has a better plan for international travel.
4. Not Having a Back Up Plan
First thing you should do, if possible is to research all your destinations and if possible determine if your card will be accepted at the places you plan on attending, with new technology emerging for fraud prevention there may be new systems in place in a destination point that your card does not meet, which my render it completely useless, if that ends up being the case you want access to local currency and other payment methods to make sure you are not left in a touch position, with no cash or way to make a payment.
There are real benefits from traveling and putting all your transactions on a credit card, even the plan and travel tickets themselves, for the obvious, but not so obvious reasons, as the bonus points can be significant if the charges are high enough, and future tickets or airline miles will pay your future trips, but the safety and convenience is tremendous. Of course you will need some cash to take care of small purchases or things where a card is not even accepted. But you must keep in mid that points above. You most certainly should give your card company a heads up about your travel, the more detail the better, but in the very least, a list of the country or countries, and cities that you may attend, and the airlines you plan to use. Schedule an automatic payment, so as to not miss while you are gone, which could result in the account being locked, and cutting off your source of money. You keep up on the fees that may be charged to you while you travel in foreign countries. And finally, have a back up, either another card, or two, and access to cash. These steps will insure that your trip is fun, and trouble free.