How to spend wisely while travelling

Whether you are about to head off on that business trip or are looking into that dream vacation, one thing is for sure, money matters. If you are wondering whether to take cash or a card then read on. Here’s our guide to spend wisely while traveling so you spend less and enjoy more.

Money talks, right?

Well, not always. Often on a trip, you may find that money may do more walking than talking! It’s not wise to travel with loads of money on you, so you should look at taking a card with which keeps most of your budget on it, safely. You should however have a small portion of local currency with you just in case your card cannot be used when you need it. A rule of thumb is to assume that there will always be some places that don’t take card payments or that don’t accept any type of card. Your card can also be stolen, replicated or lost, so an idea is to keep the two apart, safely.

Our City Aim crossover is a great way to travel light – it keeps your tablet safe and has compartments for important documents and cards/cash. Great for business travel meetings!

The Road quest laptop bag 15.6 is a great way to travel. It keeps your laptop safe, and of course has handy compartments for cash or cards – and space for water bottles. It can be thirsty work travelling!

What kind of card is the right card?

When you are committing foreign transactions, credit cards tend to raise their hands as the card with the most benefits. In most countries it will however be much simpler to pay with cash, so you are going to need to be able to withdraw said cash from a nearby ATM, right? It makes sense then to travel with both a credit and debit card. Chat to your bank to see if your debit card is part of a global ATM network and most importantly, ensure that you have enough funds in your bank account.

It’s also wise to travel with more than one card in your wallet. Taking a debit and credit card ensures that should one of your cards be declined, you will have others to choose from. A massive international payment organisation can experience technical issues, so you should be prepared for any situation. You should notify your card provider(s) of your plans, as they might decline your transactions if they consider them suspicious and are not aware of your movements. A card unexpectedly being declined when paying for transportation, dinner or a trinket to take home is not fun.


Get a Special travel credit card

While a credit card is a smart idea which may offer a range of rewards, it may not be suited for the expenses which are attached to international travel. You may want to consider a special travel credit card. Here are a few points to consider when searching for a special travel card:

  • Travel protection – Credit cards specifically designed for travel often come with special protection benefits like travel insurance, protection for delayed flights and trip cancellation.
  • Rewards – A good travel credit card should come with a substantial welcome bonus. Since welcome bonuses are usually conditioned by initial expenses, use the credit card to pay for most of your bookings. Some credit cards also offer additional benefits for travel-related payments such as hotel, restaurant or airline payments.
  • No foreign transaction fees – Most credit cards charge a fee on all purchases made outside the country. However, some credit cards are specifically designed for travellers and they don’t charge anything for foreign currency transactions.
  • Global use – To make sure your card is accepted nearly anywhere, choose a chip-enabled card that is part of a global ATM network (Visa and Mastercard are the best options). As an added benefit, some cards also offer a 24/international concierge service.

Make calculated estimations

You won’t need to guess the prices of your fixed expenses like flight tickets, however there are costs you will need to estimate. These ad lib costs (restaurant meals, museums, tours and all those mini adventures) can be tough to calculate in terms of spend. If you haven’t experienced these before try jot them down during this next trip. By using your credit cards to pay for entertainment and meals, you’ll have the possibility to check your bank statement and budget more effectively next time you travel. Download a few travel and food/ entertainment apps to make your life a little easier.

Here are some of our popular choices at American Tourister SA HQ for international travel: