With the heavy summer travel season now upon us, I thought I’d throw out some quick travel tips.
These are mostly based on the money-related lessons I learned while travelling to Ireland the past three weeks.
For more detailed banking information see my previous post, Banking Tips for International Travel.
Know Your ATM and Foreign Transaction Fees- We ended up using our ATM card once and thought we’d only see a $2 fee. To our suprise, our Capital One 360 Checking account charged us 2% foreign transaction fee.
This is definitely something we should have researched prior to making the ATM withdrawal. Foreign transaction fees weren’t that bad on us the rest of the trip since we just used the local currency (Euro), but that’s definitely something you need to be aware of prior to using your credit card.
Most fees are set at 1% to 3%. Capital One is one of the only companies that doesn’t charge you this fee.
Download Skype to Save on Phone Expenses – We’re still really big on Skype and used it make all our calls back home. We called both our friends and family who have Skype themselves, and occasionally used it to call a land line or cell phone using the Skype credits I had left over from my last trip.
Skype is free for computer to computer video calls.
Consider Cancelling Services Back Home – Prior to leaving on our recent trip we’d been having some trouble with our Internet connection. So, we decided to call and just cancel it to save us from paying almost a month of service fees when we were out of town.
AT&T offered to give us a month for free and then lowered our rate going forward to keep us from cancelling. Call your service providers today and let them know of your complaints or if you think you’re paying too much. They’ll likely work with you to help you cut some from your monthly expenses.
Note: before cancelling anything, make sure you’re aware of any cancellation fees or big fees to have the service set back up when you return.
Inform Your Bank and Credit Cards – Most banks and credit card companies have fraud alerts set up on your account that prevent your card from taking any unusual charges, like in a foreign country.
So, it’s usually a good practice to call them and let them know where you’re going. I usually do this at the airport while I’m waiting.
We actually forgot to do this this time around. And suprisingly we never had a transaction questioned. Maybe it was because we were in Europe, I guess, versus a less developed country.
Add-On a Cell Phone International Feature - If and when we didn’t use Skype on our trip, we used our cell phones. Prior to leaving though, we called and made sure we had the international flat rate feature turned on.
This usually costs around $5 for the month, but it lowers your per minute and per text charges to a more reasonable rate.
Do you have a good money-related travel tip? Leave it in the comments below…