Making International Travel Easier
If you enjoy international travel but don’t like some of the potential issues associated with it, fret not. Some problems are rectifiable if not totally avoidable. Here are some international travel tips to make your journey easier and more enjoyable.
Foreign Airline Websites
One way to save money on international airfare that we have yet to mention is to investigate the overseas airlines’ sites in their home-based countries. Experienced international vacationers have learned that frequently an American website will charge you twice the ticket price as your destination country’s site. If the website is in a language foreign to you then use a translation program. You may even be able to purchase your tickets in euros. If possible, use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.
Hotel Business Cards
As soon as you get to your hotel, grab a business card from your hotel’s front desk. This way, if you get lost while you’re exploring, you’ll have the name and the address of your hotel in the native language. Yes, English is the international language. Many people do speak it but having that business card in the local language is a super backup. You can show it to cab drivers or other locals just in case they don’t happen to speak your language.
“Credit Card Rap”
If you are looking for the best exchange rates then use your credit cards. Just be aware that some credit cards will add on a foreign transaction fee that could be as high as three percent. Both the Platinum American Express and Chase Sapphire Preferred card do not charge the fee. are both cards that don’t charge the fee.
Avoid False Fraud Alerts
Before your plane takes off you should call the fraud department of your credit card bank. Make sure that they make a note on your account about what countries you will be visiting and if possible the specific dates as well. Doing this will prevent your credit card bank’s security force from thinking your credit card has been stolen when you buy something overseas. You don’t want them shutting down your credit card when you need it. Find about what countries you may be changing planes in as well and alert your credit card company that you could be using your credit card there, too.
Other countries usually have ATMs. Still, a lot of American-based banks will charge you a rather steep fee for using any non-network ATM. Some travelers use the ATMs in airports during layovers to withdraw significant amounts of cash to avoid paying the additional fees more than once. Carrying large quantities of cash is never a good idea. This can also result in having too much foreign currency left over at the end of a trip. Both Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer checking accounts that do not require any minimum balance. This is a great alternative as they will even reimburse you for all additional ATM fees foreign or domestic.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)