girl sitting with backpack

Saving While Traveling Abroad

Whether it’s your first time abroad or it’s just been a while since you’ve last left the states, here are some tips you should consider when traveling out of the country.

Notify us when you go!

You should always alert your credit union and credit card companies when you’re traveling. About a week before you leave, get in touch (you can call LA Financial at 800-894-1200) to say you’ll be to using your debit and credit cards overseas. This protects you against the possibility of having your card declined because it could otherwise be flagged as fraud. It also saves on you trying to get in touch with your credit union or credit card provider while out of the country (saving on those roaming charges!).

Look up monetary conversion rates before your trip.

It’s easy to show up at the airport of your international vacation destination to get you to remember, “Oh, I probably need cash” and then walk over to the nearest money conversion kiosk by baggage claim. However, those kiosks won’t always get you the most bang for your buck. Make sure you know the rates and have them stored on your phone before you leave for your trip. Then once you arrive, find a bank or ATM (they have ATMs in the airport, too!) and you’ll less fees — also, the conversion rates will be exact. The best way to minimize fees is to withdraw an estimated amount of what you think you’ll need on your trip and avoid frequent trips to the ATM.

Always have local cash.

Not every place takes credit cards. Especially, when on the move, those important places like trains or buses can be cash only, so it’s best to grab cash early on.

Plan ahead and buy tickets for places you know you want to visit or see.

It’s always best to do a little research about your destination before you get on the plane. By having some plans in mind and buying tickets in advance for things you know you’ll want to see, you’ll be able to skip more lines and find more deals for things like museums and tours online.

Check the country’s entrance/exit fees.

When researching your international destination, find out whether or not that country requires travelers to pay in order to enter or leave it. These fees are not included in the price of your airline ticket, and can range from $25 to $200.

Don’t over-tip.

Finally, don’t use all the money you’ve saved on fees by over-tipping. Service workers usually make more than they do in America, and most service charges are already included in the bill. Make sure to check before leaving more money. Leaving 5% of the total for a tip is standard practice.