Monday, October 29, 2012

Money, Money, Money by the pound... or Euro or whatever!

Over the years I've noticed that something first-time travelers are always hesitant about it is how they'll pay for things abroad. Well today's blog is all about money and how to use/get it overseas. Here are some key points to be aware of:

Exchange Rates: A fairly simple concept that often seems overwhelming, especially if you are crossing through multiple currencies in one trip. Example: US Dollar to Euro to Pound. Always try to exchange in familiar terms, so USD to Pounds and UDS to Euros. It will be much easier to understand the value, and BONUS, it keeps you from exchanging too much cash at once.

ATMs: NOT A UNIVERSAL ACRONYM. I was so confused the first time I went to Germany and asked where I could get money. They kept saying ETC, which I knew to mean excetera...The great thing about ATMs is that they're fairly common and they're always in logical place: Outside banks, near coffee shops, in the airport or mall.

Something I've learned on my own is that my credit card actually has 2 fees for international purchases, an exchange fee and a processing fee, it usually tacks on an additional 6% of the transaction! That's ridiculous and I didn't know or ask until I had done a lot of traveling. Once I found out, I asked my credit union about their rates and turns out my debit card is much more affordable. Now all I use overseas is my debit card, it's so much easier.

So what can you take away from this? Don't be scared, it's just money! And money is something every body wants, so if you have it and are in a foreign country- don't worry! Secondly, know your fees. Call your credit card provider and have them spell it out for you, that way you know all about that fine print. Finally, make sure to let your bank/credit union or credit card provider know you'll be out of the country and making purchases. It is so difficult to deal with "Fraud" claims which being overseas!
Questions? Let me know

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