Sunday, October 4, 2015

How to Travel in Foreign Countries Safely with Enough Money

Travel is wonderful, and many of us would do nothing but travel the globe if we had the means to live that kind of jet-set life. And traveling to the far corners of the world is growing increasingly easy, with the Internet to connect us to friends and work while we are away and with major transportation centers like airports and railway stations all over the map. We can book reservations and go to even the most far-flung places that have names that we can barely pronounce. But travel requires spending money, and unless we have safe and secure ways to carry money with us when we globe-hop, we can find ourselves in a world of trouble.

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Travelers used to rely upon traveler’s checks as the best way to carry money abroad, but in recent years this method has become somewhat cumbersome. Rules governing reimbursement have tightened to prevent fraudulent claims, and although traveler’s check companies claim that they will get money to you anywhere, anytime, with emergency speed, the reality is that many travelers find themselves stuck with no cash, and lost or stolen traveler’s checks are not reimbursed for months. And then they are only refunded or reimbursed after the consumer fills out pages of documents and makes many long and sometimes frustrating phone calls. Although there are still some good traveler’s check companies, many travelers complain that customer service and speedy reimbursement are lacking. For that reason we recommend using traveler’s checks as a backup, not a primary plan of action.

A better and more dependable idea is to carry a bank card, like an ATM or credit card. Because most financial networks subscribe to the same ATM machine systems, your card will be compatible with automated cash machines throughout the world. All you have to do is take one piece of plastic with you, and your bank account is only a PIN number away. Of course you may find yourself in a place where there are no machines, or where you card does not work, but in general this is a good way to carry money overseas. Experts recommend that you plan ahead, and open a special bank account for your overseas travel. Use the ATM card connected to that account, and only deposit enough money to cover your travel expenses. That way, if your card is stolen and misused, thieves will not be able to clean out your life’s savings.

To back up your ATM card in case you aren’t able to use it somewhere, carry enough cash – either in dollars or in the currency of the place you are traveling – to tide you over for a few days at a time. You can also use most credit cards and a passport to withdraw cash from foreign banks, but you may have to pay pretty steep fees for the convenience.

And as always, it is highly recommended that you leave copies of all your important documents, including your bank cards, in a safe place. If yours are lost, you can use the copies to help file claims to replace them.

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