Summer vacation season is almost here.  As you rush to tie up loose ends at the office and at home, it’s easy to overlook things you could do to save money, reduce money-related hassles, and ensure a pleasant trip.

Determine how much cash to bring with you.

It’s never a good idea to take large sums of cash. If it gets lost or stolen, it can’t be replaced. Take only enough for local transit, tips and other small expenses. If you need more, you can always visit an ATM, even in a foreign country.  However, be sure to ask your Bank about any foreign transaction fees they may charge.  Also let your bank know you will be traveling to a foreign country to ensure your credit card will work where you travel.

Use credit cards whenever possible. 

Credit cards are widely accepted by merchants worldwide, however, not all credit cards are accepted equally.  Due to its merchant fees, American Express is not as widely accepted abroad as it is in the US.  Mastercard and Visa are accepted in 210 countries making them the most widely accepted credit card in the world.  When using an ATM, use your debit card to withdraw funds if possible since credit cards charge a much heftier fee for ATM transactions.

When paying for purchases outside the US, paying with a credit card typically gets you a better exchange rate (the value of your US dollars in a foreign country) than if you convert your cash to local currency.

Converting Cash

The fee to convert cash is usually the same regardless of the amount, so convert larger amounts and save yourself time. Store your cash in multiple safe locations to reduce the risk of losing all your cash due to theft.

Important Documents and Numbers

Make two copies of your passport, driver’s license, airline tickets, and your itinerary. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member.  Take the other one with you packed separately from the actual items.

Pay Bills Before Your Trip

Pay any upcoming bills that will come due while you are away. Placing bills on auto pay is an excellent option.

Don’t Be a Target

Protect yourself from thieves and scammers with these tips:

  • Don’t flaunt cash, credit cards, or expensive jewelry.
  • Deter pickpockets by keeping your purse closed and in front of you.
  • Alert your credit card that you will be out of town, to ensure your card transactions will be processed and not mistaken for fraud.
  • Always take your receipts with you and never share your PIN with anyone.
  • Be extra alert at airport ticket counters, baggage check and baggage claim areas as thieves look for opportunities to strike when you are distracted.

Enjoy your trip!

Whether you’re traveling around the globe, cross country, or within the state, follow these tips to avoid money-related issues, save money, and reduce stress.  Have additional questions?  Please contact your Marine Bank banking center for assistance.