February 2

How to pay in foreign countries

General Travel Tips

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When you’re visiting a country abroad, there’s a big chance you will have to pay with other currencies. While you can exchange money at exchange desks, there are better (and cheaper) options.

Credit Card

In my opinion, a credit card is a must-have when you go abroad. I tend to use it in cases of emergency or if I have no other options. But truth is, with a VISA or MasterCard, you can go a long way.

You can withdraw money at ATM’s or make some urgent online purchases when on the road. Also for hotels it’s often required to hand over you credit card details.

Before you leave your country, make sure your bank is up to date about your travel plans so your payment abroad doesn’t get cancelled. These days, most banks have the option in their app or online application where you can state where you’re travelling to and when. Do this before you leave so you don’t have to be ashamed when you’re credit card is rejected.

Transferwise

My number one method to pay is my TransferWise account. Reason? Best exchange rate and little costs. Unlike a credit card, there are no costs to a TransferWise account and/or card.

This is a prepaid debit MasterCard. You can easily receive and send money to anywhere in the world. You’ll pay only a small fee for every transaction.

Thing is, when you pay with your regular credit card for a coffee or something, you’re often charged costs for using that credit card. On top of that, the exchange rate is always less favorouble than the actual exchange rate. The bank is keeping all these fees. Something you don’t have with TransferWise.

To put money on the card, you can use your credit or debit card, do a bank transfer,…

Once the money is in your account, you can convert it to any currency in the world. For example I can convert my euro’s to Thai Baht. Like that, when I’m in a shop, I can pay with the Thai Baht currency which allows me to save on the less favourable currency exchange these payment providers typically use.

After all, all these little amounts make a big difference if you’re staying abroad for a longer period of time.

Cash

Since I buy my food mostly at street stands, debit or credit cards aren’t accepted. Cash is still king for a lot of purchases. Therefor, I withdraw cash at ATM machines with my TransferWise card (remember the better exchange rates).


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