If you are about to embark on a new and exciting holiday or excursion abroad, it is a very good idea to think about your spending. How are you going to spend? You might simply exchange all of your spending money in cash before you leave, or you might use your debit card. If you are travelling for any length of time however, using credit cards for travel benefits are often a better choice and can save you a fair amount of money.
1. Lower Foreign Exchange Fees
The Achilles’ heel of all foreign spending is the foreign exchange. When exchanging cash either at home or abroad, exchange rate differences and commission can cost you dearly; especially if you are travelling for any extended period of time. In contrast, almost every credit card will avoid the associated commission charges and give you a better exchange rate than the exchange desk. The best travel credit cards will offer you a ‘perfect’ exchange rate. Foreign transaction fees are 3% with most credit cards, but there are plenty of cards that do not charge this fee. If you are going to be withdrawing cash with your credit card, look out for cards that charge no fee for cash withdrawals.
2. Discounts on Holiday Activities
Many credit cards provide discounts and charge waivers for selected holiday activities. Some cards eliminate baggage fees for example, while others will provide discounts for dining at certain restaurants or partaking in common holiday activities. Other credit cards offer you reward programs where you can build up points over time and redeem them for discounts and freebies on things like flights and hotel stays. Affinity credit cards offer excellent savings opportunities for specific travel brands, holiday booking services and airlines.
3. Foreign Assistance and Support
Any good credit card payment processor, such as Visa or MasterCard, will provide you with features and benefits to aid and assist you when you are abroad. For example, Visa Platinum gives you Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services and Travel Accident Insurance. With Visa Signature you gain a Concierge service which you can use to help plan your vacation and find you the best deals. The World MasterCard offers many of the same features and benefits as the ones offered by the higher-level Visa credit cards. These foreign assistance features can not only save you money; they can make life much easier if ever you run into problems while you are abroad.
The fact is that almost any credit card can save you money when travelling, and because they remove the need to carry around large sums of money they are naturally a safe spending option. Travel-attuned credit cards go further and offer specific features and benefits that can save you plenty of money and reward you in other ways too. So before you think about exchanging big sums of money, first think about your current credit cards and compare credit cards for any new credit card deals available to you.
How do you use credit cards to save you money when traveling? Share your tips with us in the comments section below!