Do you know the best ways to take money abroad when you travel? Many don’t know that there are safe ways, and not so safe ways. When traveling, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when it comes to how much money to take, and in what form. Luckily for you, I have the scoop on the best ways to take money abroad. Whether moving abroad or just traveling abroad, these tips will help you decide what will work best for your travels.
Take Money Abroad
ATMs are much more common than they used to be. However, there are still many parts of the world where you won’t find one on every street corner. Most of the time they are only in larger cities. You might also find that banks are open only for very limited hours. They might be closed for local public holidays or have early closing days that you might not know anything about because you’re not a local.
Banks also are not the same all around the world. If you bank at a local credit union, you won’t have access to one when you leave your home town. That’s why planning ahead is key when it comes to how you will have access to money when traveling.
Here are some tips on how to take your money abroad and manage it.
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Having cash in your home currency for the airport is a good idea. That way you can pay for luggage carts or food while in an airport. It’s also a good idea to have enough foreign currency in cash with you to cover expenses once you arrive. Things such as taxis, tips, a meal and so on. Have enough with you for at least one day’s worth of expenses so you can get situated in your new location and find a bank, ATM and so on.
Needless to say, always carry your cash in a safe place, but one accessible enough for you to take it out to spend without drawing unnecessary attention. Wearing a money belt that is right against your body so you can feel it at all times helps. You can also put keys, credit cards, drivers license and passport in a money belt.
If wearing a money belt isn’t your thing, grab a travel neck wallet for keeping things safe. Carrying cash might not feel safe, but it is a good idea to take money abroad for incidentals.
Related: Save on Travel
Each time you exchange money, you will be required to pay a fee. So on the one hand, you might be nervous about carrying a lot of cash, but on the other, you want to get a good rate and make the most of the fee.
Order the cash from your bank or a Bureau de Change, at least a couple of weeks before you go. Check the exchange rate for buying and selling. You probably won’t have any money left when you come back, but it is good to check if you do need to change any back again.
Once you get to your destination, look for a Bureau de Change near where you are staying. They can be found at airports, of course, but you won’t usually get a good rate there.
Or – Just Use XE
Xe is the best option when traveling because it’s fast and easy. Make money transfers and manage your account online 24/7. Use any device you have to manage your account. No waiting to find or go to a bank, all you need is internet.
Using Xe is secure and safe. Way more cost-effective than their competition. Offering competitive exchange rates and low fees. Transparent so you always know exactly what you are paying.
Highly recommend XE for all your currency conversion when traveling. Easy as 1, 2, 3. Create an account, enter details, confirm and send. See how simple using Xe can be.
Related: Why You Should Vacation Solo
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are accepted all over the world. If it is a debit card attached to your bank account, this can help keep you within your vacation budget. But, there can be substantial fees involved in using a foreign ATM which can bite into your budget. These include foreign exchange fees as well.
If you are going to take money out, therefore, make sure it is enough to cover what you need, rather than $20 here or there.
Use the credit card or debit card to make purchases directly at shops, restaurants and so on. Keep your cash in reserve for small purchases, market stalls and so on. I use my Marriott card everywhere as it also earn me points and free reward nights.
Note that some US cards are not accepted overseas, because they are not part of the Cirrus or PLUS network. In this case, consider getting a pre-paid MasterCard. Make sure the amount you put on it will cover your needs. You will have to pay a fee. You can also call your credit card company and ask if they are able to be used where you will be traveling. Also, ask if there are other fees associated with the use in other countries. It’s a good idea to also let your credit card company know you are traveling abroad. Sometimes if a charge comes thru from another country they may put a block on your card as they think it’s fraud.
Also note that some US cards won’t work overseas because they use chips rather than swiping the card. You might not be able to pay unless you can find staff who can the number manually. Otherwise, you will need to cash.
Some people still use these, though they are a lot less common and there are fees attached. But they can be replaced if they are lost or stolen. I remember the day when it was the only way to take money abroad. Good thing there are more options now.
In case of emergencies, your family can wire you via Western Union or MoneyGram. There might be a fee based on a percentage of the amount of money sent, or a flat fee, such as $6 at Western Union.
How to Receive or Send Money Abroad
Sometimes people traveling get into a bind and need money asap. There is a company called Wise that is perfect for those situations. With Wise you can transfer money or spend abroad 6x cheaper than old-school banks. Plus you can receive money around the world for free. Real exchange rates and no hidden fees.
Wise makes life so much easier when traveling anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world. Check them out now and have things lined up before you travel.
Final Thoughts on the Best Ways to Take Money Abroad
Regardless of where you go, just make sure you have everything figured out before travel begins. Getting to a destination and realizing you are short on funds, or have no access to them, is a horrible start to a vacation.
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