The Whole Truth is delighted to welcome Janelle who submitted this guest post about saving money when travelling. Janelle is an avid travel enthusiast and blog manager for one of the leading auto movers in the United States.
- Call ahead. If you’ve made reservations at a hotel in another country, make sure that you contact them PRIOR to your arrival in order to verify the form of payment that is accepted (ex. Credit card, traveler’s checks, cash, personal check, etc.). Additionally, if you are hiring an auto transport company to ship your vehicle to another country, make sure that
you verify what form of payment is accepted as well as whether or not there is an additional fee charged once the vehicle is received.
- Contact your credit card companies. In order to avoid having your credit card account frozen or any other complications, make sure that you contact your credit card agencies ahead of time to let them know the dates that you will be out of the country. Be prepared to provide them with information such as: where you will be staying, city/country that you will be traveling to, number of days that you will be out of the country as well as any other unusual countries or places that you might stop at along the way. *If you have an American Express card, you do not need to notify them.
- Be prepared for international Fees. The maximum that an American credit card company can charge for the use of a credit card outside of the country is 3% on any purchases made. Be sure to ask your credit card company about their rates as this may affect your choice of what credit card to use while you are traveling abroad.
- Look for the nearest ATM. Did you know that you’ll often get a better deal changing money in a foreign country via their ATMs versus going to an exchange counter? When using a foreign ATM, verify that the card symbols match the symbols on the back of your ATM/check card. If not, you will not be able to withdraw money from the ATM. If you’re staying at a hotel, call ahead to ask where you might be able to find an ATM once you arrive. This will save you time as well as the hassle of venturing out to search for one on your own.
- Balance your cash with your credit cards. When traveling to a foreign country, it is always a good idea to have a tidy sum of cash on you just in case a restaurant or venue doesn’t accept credit cards. Prior to dining at restaurants, verify with the hostess as to whether or not your particular credit card is accepted there.
- Wining and dining. When dining at restaurants in foreign countries, pay attention to the bill when you receive it. In some cases (such as in Canada), the gratuity is automatically added into your final bill. In most countries, if the gratuity is not listed, it is customary to leave between 10 to 20 percent of the bill as the tip (same as in the United States).
- Carry your passport and ID with you. When you are traveling, be sure to have a valid passport as well as an additional form of photo identification (i.e. Driver’s license) with you at all times. If you’re ever in financial trouble or otherwise, you may need these!