7 Tips for Traveling with Credit Cards
By John Dunnery

It is certainly convenient to use a credit card for expenses and purchases when traveling overseas. It’s fast, easy, and the costs are recorded in your credit card account. However, there can be problems with using a credit card for foreign travels. The following seven tips should help you to avoid these problems and therefore prevent any disruption of your trip.

1. Check your credit card data before you go. Make sure that the expiry date doesn’t overlap with your trip. Also, ensure that the credit available on the card is sufficient to cover your projected expenses.

2. Contact your credit card company to tell them when and where you’ll be traveling. Otherwise, the unusual foreign purchases on your card may cause alarm bells to ring regarding fraudulent activity – which could result in a curtailment of borrowing privileges.

3. Photocopy your card, back and front, and keep the photocopy in a secure place in your luggage (not in your wallet). Write on the photocopy a phone number that can be used from the countries where you’ll be traveling (the freephone number on the back of the card may not be an international number). Then, if you do lose the card, you will be able to call the credit card company immediately with the necessary data.

4. When you won’t be needing the card during an outing or excursion, consider storing it in the safe or security box provided by your hotel. This is prudent especially when you will be doing extensive walking around urban areas and when you’re going to a beach.

5. Keep sales receipts resulting from card transactions. Collect these to show, if required, when passing through Customs. Also, these should be saved – as usual – so that you can dispute any incorrect charges after returning home.

6. Withdraw the currency of each country/monetary region you visit from an ATM as soon as possible after arriving. Do this so that you’re not caught without cash when you need to make a purchase – since some shops and restaurants don’t accept credit cards.

7. Keep in mind that hotels and car rental companies may put a hold on your credit card account equal to the projected amount of a bill. Therefore leave an appropriate buffer to ensure that you don’t attempt to charge other amounts that would exceed your available credit.

The use of credit cards when traveling overseas is a great convenience. However, if you fail to take these precautions, you could face unwelcome surprises during your trip.

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