There are a number of ways to handle money when traveling abroad or domestically. These are ways to have money available when traveling.
*By using credit cards for purchases internationally, you will usually get the best rate of exchange over paying in local currency. Some credit card companies charge a foreign transaction fee when using cards overseas. Please check with your card company before travel to see if there is a charge for this and what the charge is.
Make sure to notify your card companies a couple of days prior to travel that you will be out of the country with your card. They will need to know dates of travel and countries travelling to.
Make sure your credit cards are in the scan proof sleeves. This will prohibit scanners from getting all your card information. Bear Tracks Travel can provide these for you or purchase at most retail stores- Target, Walmart, etc.
Visa is by far the most accepted card around the world.
*ATM’s. This is a great way to be able to get money out of your bank account and receive it in the local currency of the country you are in. No need to stop at banks. Make sure that you are aware of what your daily withdrawal limit is before leaving home and make any changes you need to before you go. Also, on ATM cards there is a name of the group of ATMs that you are apart of, you will only be able to use the ATMs that are on that system. Such as Cirrus. If you do not know which group your card is apart of, ask your bank and then look for the ATMs in the country you are in with that name.
There will be a fee for using your atm card. Sometimes at the atm machine and then from your bank as well. These fees can be quite high.
*US Cash. It is a good idea to have some US cash with you when traveling. Limited amounts are good to have on hand. Usually smaller bills are good. Many foreigners like nice crisp new money. You can ask for that at the bank. Also, some countries love to get US dollars instead of their own currency when making purchases-the dollar is stronger than their currencies in some cases. Tips in US dollars are great when traveling to Mexico or the Caribbean. Remember, carry smaller bills.
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It is a good idea to secure some money in the local currency of the countries you are travelling to before you go. This will save you time and sometimes a huge effort trying to secure currency when you arrive into a foreign country.
You can go the Travel Ex booths at most large airports to secure foreign currency before travel. They have the cash itself or you can load up a visa debit card in the local currency. This is so nice. If you lose this card of it is stolen, they can replace it very quickly for you. You will be able to change unused money back into USD upon arrival back into the US. There will be some small fees associated with your currency purchase. The more you take out, the less the fee.
Bear Tracks Travel can give you more information on this great service.
IF travelling to Mexico, please be aware that there is a law where there is a $100 maximum in on transaction when purchasing with US Dollars. You must have either pesos or credit cards for purchases over $100.