"" Writer's Wanderings: Don't Leave Home Without It

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It

While some people still prefer traveler's checks, a credit card and a bank card you can use at ATMs are probably your greatest assets in having the ability to pay for things as you travel abroad. ATMs are readily available in almost every major airport around the world. Added to that location, you can find them frequently in most towns and cities that have at least one bank, usually with a choice of languages including English.

The advantage to using an ATM is not only being able to get cash readily, you get the best rate of conversion and your bank will not charge you nearly as much as a money exchange booth at the airport.

While there are some places where you will need cash for "cash only" purchases, the best route for paying for hotels, tickets, meals, etc. is to use a credit card. Again, the conversion of currency is automatic but beware--not all credit cards are created equal. But you knew that, right? Check with your credit card company to see what their policy and exchange rate is before you use it. We discovered the hard way that the credit card we used for travel was adding a hefty charge for the currency conversion.

At the time I write this, we currently have a Capital One card (no fancy picture) that we use exclusively for travel. We found that there is no charge for it's use in foreign countries for the currency conversion. Perhaps there are other cards as well. Check around. Just be sure you don't leave home without one.

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