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Do backpackers travel with CREDIT CARDS???

Travel Forums Travel Gear Do backpackers travel with CREDIT CARDS???

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1. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 9y

Think Travel in Asia:

Are backpackers prone to street robberies??? Is it wise to travel without a credit card.
you may answer this via a private message. Is it safe to just travel with cash...

Or do thieves assume that backpackers dont carry cash or too poor to be robbed. LOL!
If not, I should take a suitcase.

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 9y

I always travel with at least 2 credits cards, but just yesterday, for the first time in 7 years of travelling, I used it to make a purchase (for a Japanese train ticket). On occasion I use credit cards to withdraw cash at a bank, but not very often. I usually just rely on debit cards to get cash, and the odd travellers cheque.
I think safety in Asia is quite good. While I occasionally hear of backpackers being robbed by sticky fingered hotel owners who have access to their rooms, and I'm sure the odd person looses a bag in train or bus stations, I very rarely hear of backpackers, or any tourist, being mugged on the street. In fact I can only really recall meeting one girl who was mugged in HCMC. So i think considering the amount of backpackers in Asia, the odds are pretty good that you'll be fine. It goes without saying though that carrying a wad of cash in your wallet is just stupid in any country in the world. That's why most backpackers use some sort of money belt or relatively safe place to hide the bulk of their funds.
I would also like to add that I don't think that a local Asian robber would consider a backpacker too poor to rob. While anyone who deals with backpackers on a regular basis may find them a bit stingy, consider that the amount they spend in a day, or even the cost of the backpack that they are carrying, would probably feed the robber's family for month. In our eyes backpackers are poor young budget traveler, but in a locals eyes they are still pretty damn wealthy.

3. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 9y

Robbing credit cards isn't so much of a problem. The preferred scam is to take your card away into a back room to 'process it', and copy all of the details - you don't find out until you get home that someone's spent a grand on Prada on your card. Having said that, I've never had a problem and always travel with (and use) a couple of cards.

4. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

I travel with two as well and keep them in different places. One Visa, one Mastercard. That way, you are pretty covered.

I was careful where I used them. I always kept enough cash on me to pay with that if I felt somewhere was a bit questionable or whatever.

One of cards was stolen in Chile and was used at a service station for about $50US before I got to report it stolen. My bank refunded this money to me.

I think travelling with credit cards and keeping them debited all the time is the way to go.

Hope that helps. :)

5. Posted by Singularis (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

Hey,
Can someone tell me about using Credit cards outside the country where they were issued...

I have a Visa and a Master Card... What charge-types would I have to pay over and above the expenditure itself?

Naturally, I have already posted this to my bank but they haven't got back to me yet...

are these charges negotiable?

As long as the "international" costs aren't exorbitant.. I think Credit Cards are the best way to go... but I happen to have some relevant currency on hand so I'd save the commission - that the forex agent or whoever encahses Travellers' Cheques - charges.

Still, as someone said above... won't be smart to carry around more cash than you don't mind losing...

Vaibhav.
PS: I am from India and going to Europe

6. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 9y

i have relied heavily on credit cards when traveling and have had no problems that weren't corrected. my cards have been stolen 2x, once in italy and once on zanzibar. in italy they maxed the card out within 20 min. and on zanzibar they didn't use them at all. in both cases the cards were replaced very quickly and i got all the money back for the card that had been maxed out. i usually call the companies ahead and tell them before i leave home which countries that i will be in, so that they don't suspend the card for unusual activity/security purposes. in some countries, you will find that you can only use cc when in big cities as smaller locations tend to deal only in cash.

there is a small money exchange applied to all purchases. usually it is reasonable and each bank is different. there is actually a class action law suit going on right now with one of them about overcharging...so its been under heavy scrutiny.

regardless of what type of currency i'm traveling with, cc/travelers checks/cash, i don't keep everything in one place. and if i'm unusually concerned, i'll sleep with my money belt on.

7. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member 167 posts) 9y

There is a currency conversion fee, and usually the bank will charge an internatioanl transaction fee. I only use my Visa, have a debit for backup, Would like to get a mastercard for my next trip, because I wasn´t able to use visa or debit at the airport in argentina, which sucked!

8. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

Quoting AndyB24

There is a currency conversion fee, and usually the bank will charge an internatioanl transaction fee. I only use my Visa, have a debit for backup, Would like to get a mastercard for my next trip, because I wasn´t able to use visa or debit at the airport in argentina, which sucked!

Andy next time you go on your overseas travels (assuming you are an Australian resident) apply for a Wizard Clear Advantage mastercard and just load your card up with that cash. This card doesn't have the currency conversion fee nor does it have any cash advance fees (as long as you are withdrawing your money and not the banks). So as long as you don't use the banks money on this card you can travel without any fees because on top of that the card doesn't have any annual fee either and the exchange rate is only a few cents in $100's off the rate given on xe.com (currency conversion site).

9. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

Quoting Singularis

Hey,
Can someone tell me about using Credit cards outside the country where they were issued...

I have a Visa and a Master Card... What charge-types would I have to pay over and above the expenditure itself?
Naturally, I have already posted this to my bank but they haven't got back to me yet...
are these charges negotiable?

Unless someone from India is reading your post and has experienced what you are asking, nobody will be able to confidently answer your question except the bank your cards are with in India. You should be able to go in to a branch of your bank and get a brochure on the creditcards they have and then read all the conditions they have regarding overseas transactions. Fees, policies re the banks etc vary greatly depending on which country your cards are from. In Australia for a normal bank card they have a charge of $5.00 per withdrawal whether it be a $20 withdrawal of $1000 withdrawal. Most creditcard companies in Australia charge at least a 2% currency conversion fee and then on top of that a minimum of $2.50 cash advance fee, so it is normally very expensive to use a creditcard overseas. Having said that one card exists that I know of which has 0% currency conversion fees and 0% cash advance fees and no annual fee as long as you are withdrawing your own money and not the banks. If you happened to withdraw the banks money instead of your own, then the fees are huge like 15% interest from the day you withdraw even if the card has interest free days. So as you can see just from what I have written about Australian charges it varies so the only people who can tell you the policies are the bank your card is with in India. If your normal debit card has Cirrus Maestro logos on the card then you shouldn't have problems withdrawing cash in most ATM's around the world (just make sure your PIN is 4 digits long before travelling).

Like soupatrvlr said sleep with your money belt on.

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 15, 2007, at 6:22 PM by aharrold45 ]

10. Posted by sunnyD (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

travelling with a credit card is always a great option as you always know you have access to your money if you ever need it in an emergency. However, obviously, it has great risks.

In the uk, they have introduced travellers credit card, which works by topping it up with a certain amount. The card can then be topped up by you or friends and family (most prob not friends!!) when you need it. This is less risky.

Check out the Post office for an example.