When it comes to travelling, a credit card is a fantastic asset to take with you. Wherever I've been across the globe, I've used my credit card to get me out of trouble. (I'm just one of those people that attract drama!) There are so many good reasons to take your plastic with you, but there are also a few pitfalls you need to watch out for that could see you get charged unnecessarily and possibly without a card to use.
Here are five steps you might want to take with your plastic when you travel:
1. Check your rewards. Some of the credit cards which are targetted at the luxury and affluent market have very good advantages for travelers. This can include things like VIP airport lounge access, air miles (naturally) or free checked-baggage. You might even have these on your existing card, and if not there is always the option to transfer your balance to take advantage of the rewards.
2. Call your card provider. It sounds so simple, but many people forget to phone their card issuer before they travel and the first time they use the card in a foreign city, their card gets put on hold! As long as they know where you're traveling, the card will accept international transactions.
3. Check the fees. Some cards that aren't aimed at travelers may carry a transaction fee for international purchases. This usually runs around 3% and can soon add up if you use your card a lot at restaurants, hotels and the mandatory international shopping.
4. Know about local security. Different countries have different security measures for credit cards and you need to double check what they are for the countries on your itinery. Here in Europe, for example, we use a "chip and PIN" system which requires a smart card and a 4-digit pin the user needs to enter. If your card doesn't have this, some retailers might not be able to accept your transaction.
5. Don't photocopy your card information. Outdated credit card advice for travelers used to preach about photocopying your cards in case they were lost. This could be worse if you store it in your luggage which is more likely to be stolen than your card in your wallet! Instead, keep your credit card information in a password protected file on your laptop, phone or flash drive.
What kind of tips do you have for travelling with your plastic? I'd love to see some good tips and I can update this list to include them.
Looking forward to your comments. :)