With the various options (such as cash, travellers’ cheques, cards) available when you travel overseas, you are often spoilt for choice. However it is important not just to know about the alternatives but also to ensure that when you’re on the go, your Money is safe, whether plastic or paper. While travelling you are vulnerable to threats if you don’t handle your finances well, especially when in a different country (or often, continent) where even language can sometimes be an impediment. What then can you do to safeguard yourself and your forex?
- Buy currency from authorised dealers
- Give a heads-up to your bank or credit card issuer
- Read the fine print for charges and fees applicable
- Make a budget
- Insure yourself – and also your money!
Read on to know more…
Shop around for currency – When you’re buying currency, always opt for an authorised dealer to make sure that you are getting the real deal. Further, who doesn’t want value for money, right? So ask around, do your homework online, and get yourself the best exchange rate out there. After all, (literally) every paisa counts!
Inform your bank/ card issuer – Before you leave, speak with your bank. Let them know the period that you will be travelling for, and are likely to use your debit and/ or Credit card. Why? Because in case you do swipe your card overseas, you don’t want your transaction declined, merely because it is a transaction not in sync with your usual pattern! It does happen, so cross-check. Also, use the opportunity to check whether your card is valid in the country of travel. If not, you’ll still have time to make alternate arrangements.
Fees and charges – Chosen to use your card? Then do familiarise yourself with the charges on card usage. Typically, there is a fee charged on transactions done internationally, and you should know what you are in for, especially so that you can track your spends. Further, it’s advisable to carry a backup, just in case your card is misplaced, lost or simply doesn’t function.
Make a budget – Coming from the above, we as humans do tend to go overboard when on holiday, and our wallets often take the brunt of this ‘holiday excess’. Hence, when vacation planning, do try to make a rough estimate of what you will need to spend, so that you don’t go completely overboard. If travelling on work, while you may not have bills to pay, do keep an eye on that shopping list on your days off!
Track your expenses – Of course, just planning and budgeting is only half the job done; what’s more crucial is sticking to that plan! Hence track your expenses – make notes on your phone, save charge slips or maybe just write down your spends in a little diary, the old-fashioned way. Anything to make sure that you don’t come back debt-ridden.
Keep your money safe – This is extremely crucial, because you don’t want to be strapped for cash overseas, either by accident or because, in an unfortunate occurrence, your pocket was picked. Instead of running from pillar to post in panic, here’s what you can do:
- Divide your money between all travellers
- Note down the serial numbers on the travellers’ cheques, if you are carrying any
- Purchase insurance that covers wallet protection, but before purchasing any such insurance do compare travel insurance
* Did you know, as per a survey conducted by Credit Sudhaar, India’s premier credit health management company in 2013, a whopping 100 percent of respondents had not opted for lost wallet protection? Or that a similar number – 95 percent – did not have protection against theft or fraud on their credit cards?
Lost Wallet Protection:
Protection on Credit Card:
Spend before you return home – And finally, when you’re done with your travel and heading back home, keep in mind that with closed currencies, you will not be able to either use or exchange the money outside that particular country. Hence it makes sense to go slow on withdrawals or currency conversion during the last few days of your travel, or failing that, spend the money before you leave.
… And so, bon voyage!
We hope that with these tips in mind, the next time you are travelling abroad, you’ve taken enough precaution to manage your finances well. Remember, returning home with a lot of happy memories is easy only when your financial worries are at bay.
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