The Jetsetter's Guide: Your 2023 Financial Checklist for Traveling Abroad

The countdown to your international adventure is on.

As you gear up to create your travel itinerary, filled with sightseeing schedules and restaurant reservations, remember the importance of careful financial planning. A little extra preparation can help you avoid unexpected fees and the hassle of contacting your bank while you’re away – this way, you can spend your time sightseeing and exploring without any financial worries.

Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a travel newbie, we’ve got your back with a financial checklist for traveling abroad. From savvy tips to answering commonly asked questions, we’ve got you covered.

Notify Your Bank of Your Travel Plans

Notifying your bank of your travel plans ensures uninterrupted account access while abroad, preventing card declines and freezes due to unfamiliar transactions. This proactive step assures your bank of legitimate overseas usage, providing a seamless travel experience without financial inconveniences. Compare

Currency Exchange Rates

Not all currency exchange options are created equal. Banks, ATMs, currency exchange kiosks, and reputable online platforms are common places to exchange currency. By comparing rates, you can ensure that you get the most favorable exchange rate, which can significantly impact the amount of foreign currency you receive for your money.

Banks and online platforms will likely require you to order currency in advance, but usually offer more favorable exchange rates and fees. By being proactive and shopping for rates in advance, you can maximize the value of your dollars while traveling internationally.

Consider Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is an investment worth considering for international travel; it provides financial protection against unforeseen disruptions like trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, and flight delays. Travel insurance acts as a safety net, allowing you to travel with confidence, knowing you're covered for unexpected expenses and minimizing financial burdens. From sudden illnesses to misplaced bags, travel insurance offers peace of mind.

Sign Up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fees

Signing up for a credit card with travel rewards and no foreign transaction fees is a savvy move for globetrotters – the benefits just keep coming. With each purchase, you can earn travel rewards such as airline miles, hotel points, or cashback that can be redeemed towards flights, accommodations, and more. By avoiding foreign transaction fees, you can save on every international purchase, making your money stretch further.

Enroll in Online Banking

Online banking is a travel essential for a hassle-free financial experience. With the secure SouthState Mobile Banking App, you can monitor transactions, track expenses in real-time, access card controls, and set up travel notifications to ensure a smooth journey without worrying about financial disruptions.

Pay in Local Currency

Opting to pay in local currency can help you avoid dynamic currency conversion fees, which can be higher than the standard exchange rate. Paying in local currency allows your bank to handle the currency conversion at a more favorable rate, ultimately saving you money on each transaction. Additionally, paying in local currency can make it easier for you to understand and track your expenses during your trip. It's a simple yet effective way to ensure you're getting the best value for your money.

Choose ATMs Carefully

When traveling abroad, it’s important to exercise caution when selecting ATMs. Using unfamiliar or unsecured machines can put you at risk of card skimming and fraud. Stick to ATMs located inside reputable banks or well-known financial institutions, as these are generally safer options. Avoid using standalone ATMs in secluded or poorly lit areas, as they may be more susceptible to tampering. Furthermore, be wary of any ATMs that appear damaged, have loose parts, or require additional devices for card insertion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Traveling Abroad

As you embark on your international adventure, it's natural to have questions about how to safeguard your finances while traveling. Let's address some common concerns to ensure you have a worry-free journey.

Is it better to use cash or a debit card abroad?

When it comes to payment methods, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Using a combination of cash and a debit or credit card can be beneficial. Carrying local currency for small expenses and emergencies is wise, as it can be more convenient in certain situations like taxi rides or coffee breaks. However, relying solely on cash can be risky, as it's challenging to replace if lost or stolen.

Should you get travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a wise investment, especially when venturing abroad. It provides financial protection against unforeseen events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, or flight delays. Without travel insurance, you risk significant financial losses in case of emergencies.

How to spend money abroad without fees?

Avoiding unnecessary fees while spending abroad can save you a significant amount of money. Look for credit cards or debit cards that have no foreign transaction fees. Additionally, opt to pay in local currency when using your card to avoid dynamic currency conversion fees, which can be higher than the standard exchange rate. Research and choose financial products that prioritize fee-free international transactions.

What should I tell my bank before traveling?

Before jetting off, inform your bank about your travel plans. This simple step can prevent any disruptions in card usage due to suspected fraudulent activity. Provide details of your travel dates, destinations, and the duration of your trip. Many banks allow you to do this conveniently through online banking or by giving them a call.

How can I protect my money when traveling overseas?

When traveling abroad, it’s critical to be cautious of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas where pickpocketing is common. Keep your bag in front of you or use a money belt or hidden pouch to store cash and important documents securely. Avoid displaying large sums of money in public and try to split your cash and cards between different locations to minimize loss in case of theft.

Armed with these financial tips and safety precautions, you're ready to explore the world with confidence and financial peace. Remember, preparation is the key to a seamless journey. With a little planning and the right financial tools, you can make the most of your international travel experience. As you venture into new territories, SouthState is here for you every step of the way.

About the Author, Monica Medina: Monica Medina, the Branch Manager at the Kissimmee Oak Street location, has been with SouthState for over 18 years. As a seasoned banker, she brings her own flair for creating long-lasting relationships – she loves helping others and leaving a positive impact on her customers.

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