hi for years i have wanted to travel but never had the guts to do it alone but now im ready im planning to go next year around october time fo r 6-12 month travelling to hong kong,austrailia,newzealand,miami i have loads of questions but the main ones are whats best way for finances while travelling (pre payment card etc) and whats best thing to do for a sim card and is there any other pointers you can give me thanks
I have credit cards for emergencies that may come up overseas. (Get hit by a bus, break a leg, have to suddenly purchase flights for family emergencies back home, etc.) For me Visa and MasterCard. I do not use these cards for day to day expenses. Sometimes I do use them for purchasing flights with my computer.
For spending money I also have bank debit cards. (Where I am from credit unions act like banks but pay more interest and provide debit cards. No annual fee too!) Some of my foreign ATM withdrawal fees are paid by these CU's but not too much. Overseas I use debit cards in in ATMs for cash. For using my bank - credit union cards overseas I do notify my CU and Bank that I will be overseas BEFORE leaving on my trips. When ATM withdrawals suddenly come up from foreign countries without prior notice they may first suspect fraud. When they suspect fraud they deny the ATM withdrawal. (In an emergency you might be able to get money from a real bank in person with proper identification.)
I never use prepayment cards. Where I am from prepaid cards are often used by people without bank accounts or have poor credit but they need to pay bills online.
Assuming you have money in checking or savings accounts my advice is to check with your local banks and see what debit cards they have. Some posts I read from European travelers boast about cards that pay their ATM charges overseas. But some of these cards have also high annual fees and other charges. (Pay me now or pay me later!)
Overseas I do not use debit or credit cards for cheap purchases such as cheap restaurants, stores, street vendors, etc. I use cash. My feeling is that the less I expose my debit card numbers the less chance of credit card fraud.
Do not leave home with a single card for spending money. Always have back up sources for spending money! When bringing cash make sure the bills are not old, torn, dirty or have writing on them. Stick to larger denominations to save room in your wallet.
Do a regular Google type search for how to use cards and have money available overseas for some other opinions.
- The places you want to visit are not necessarily cheap!
- Look into some insurance that covers injuries and accidents that happen overseas.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Sep-2016, at 04:33 by karazyal ]
cheers for that im in uk n will speak to my bank about it
Karazyal makes excellent recommendations. If you have a choice between Visa and MasterCard, choose Visa. It has more ATMS worldwide; and in some regions of the world, such as West Africa, MasterCard ATMs are difficult to find.
Ask locals about the best ATMs to use. Some banks charge higher fees than others. For example, in New Zealand, I prefer using BNZ (Bank of New Zealand); in India I prefer State Bank of India; in Austria, Bawag P.S.K.; in Chile, Scotia Bank. Also ask the maximum amount you can withdraw in a single transaction. That can vary from place to place.
I use debit cards only for cash withdrawals. I never use them to make purchases.
When using a credit card overseas, always ask to pay in the local currency, instead of U.S. dollars, etc. You'll avoid dynamic currency conversion. For an explanation, see this Web link: http://www.cardhub.com/edu/dynamic-currency-conversion/
If you have a smartphone, load Skype, WhatsApp and/or Viber. Toll-free calls on Skype are exactly that. Skype has limitations, though. For example, if you're in India, you can't make calls to numbers inside India. I tried that recently; and a message popped up informing me that I couldn't. Of course, Skype, WhatsApp and Viber all operate through an Internet connection.
If you're going to be in a country for a while, simply buy a SIM card for your GSM smartphone. Many SIM cards also include data, so you can tether your smartphone to your laptop, if need be, to access the Internet. I've been testing Google's Project Fi overseas; and it's worked in many of the countries I've visited, particularly in Europe. No SIM card is necessary; but you have to have a Google Nexus phone; and as far as I know, only those in the U.S. can subscribe to the service, which is reasonably priced.
I travel for extended periods, so I usually carry at least two Visa debit cards; and two Visa credit cards. I have a laptop; and a smartphone. That way, I can book flights and accommodations as I travel with my credit cards. I also carry cash; and the amount varies with what I anticipate that I'll need for that trip. I mostly carry US$. But when traveling to West and Central Africa, for example, I mostly carry euros, which are more widely accepted there than US$. Hope this helps.
When I use an ATM I prefer to use one attached to or near the parent bank during the hours the bank is open. This is just in case the card jams or does not come back! Much easier to report this problem to the nearby bank in person than trying to call some phone number on the ATM. This means you must plan ahead for spending money!
Usually the ATM withdrawal fee is the same any amount up to the maximum allowed. Take out the most you can at one time instead of paying big fees for small withdrawal amounts. This means you must know how much your home bank allows per ATM withdrawal and how much the particular bank ATM will dispense. My cards are set for $500 US per day. An amount of $500 a day is more than enough for me!
I have Bill Pay set up at my banks and CU's. With Bill Pay I can pay bills back home that come up during my trips. Also with Bill Pay I can transfer money between my banks. This is something you set up now and not as an afterthought.
I travel with a laptop and check my bank balance every now and then and after a withdrawal.
* Make copies of your passport information pages! Even scan them and keep a copy in your email folder. Copy any visa pages too and keep all copies in a different place than the passport. Lose your passport you will be in deep doo-doo! Keep passport in a waterproof plastic pouch too. Besides rain water even sweat might blur the writing. (The passport information and visa copies MIGHT be helpful if your passport is lost or stolen.)
Don't use a passport page for toilet paper!