Mike’s Vacation Credit Card Tips

I’ve traveled more this summer than any other summer I can remember…the Philippines, China, San Francisco, San Diego, & Colorado Springs.  I never carry cash anymore and that makes me fully reliant upon my debit card.  Here are some tips to help you use your cards wisely while you travel from Quizzle.com:

Review Fees and Interest Rates

When choosing the credit cards to use, first take a look at the interest rate and fees for each card. Ideally, you should choose the cards with the lowest interest rates and low or no fees, such as cash advance and foreign transaction fees (if traveling abroad). Again, it’s best to choose the cards that offer the most favorable terms. If you travel frequently, you may want to look into credit cards that offer travel rewards, so you can capitalize on the many miles you log.

Finally, if your travels take you to a foreign country, find out about conversion fees. Most credit card companies charge currency conversion fees when you use your credit card in a country that doesn’t widely accept the U.S. dollar.

Contact Your Credit Card Company

Before you travel, contact each of the companies that issue the credit cards you plan to use on your trip. Have the credit card representative make a note on your account of the dates and places of your travel. This does not have to be exact, but at least alerts the credit card company that your card usage across the country or around the globe is legitimate. Otherwise, your credit card may be denied when you try to purchase something, as your presence in a different geographic area than usual may send up red flags to your creditors that fraud may be afoot.

Only Take the Cards You Need

You may have a wallet full of credit and debit cards. If you do, avoid taking all of your cards with you on your trip. Pick and choose the cards you need and and leave the rest at home. This way, if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, you don’t have to worry about all of your accounts being compromised.

Choose the “Local Currency” Option

When making purchases in foreign currencies, ask the clerk to process the credit card using the local currency option. If the clerk processes it using U.S. Dollars, then you may be charged a fee to convert the U.S. Dollars into their own currency. This is in addition to any foreign-currency transaction fees that your credit card issuer may charge you.

Make Copies of Cards

Before you leave on your trip, make a copy of the front and back of each of the credit cards you are taking with you. Pack the copies in a safe place in your suitcase, but keep it separate from your wallet or purse. If your cards are lost or stolen, you will have the card numbers and the issuer contact information to report the loss immediately.