Do you really need to go through the hassles of exchanging money when you get to your destination and find out you were overcharged for conversion fees?  Or to walk far to the exchange booth recommended by a local finding out it’s closed?

These are just common problems travelers encounter when visiting a new place, country with different currencies.  Is it smart to open an international bank account before your trip?  My answer is, Yes.  Let me give you some do’s and don’ts on international banking to keep your finance well managed as you travel.

Do’s and Don’ts in International Banking

DO check your bank cards. Before you open up one, just check the bank accounts you currently have. Of course, you have an ATM cards that you use either personal or corporate.  Now, check if those cards have the International accessibility logos, such as  visa, master card, cirrus, or maestro logos on it and if you have at least one of those I mentioned then you’re solved.  You can use them anywhere in the world(master cards and visas are the best).

DO check with your banks.  If you haven’t used your International cards abroad before, verify and check with your bank if you can use them abroad.  Some ATM or Credit Cards even if they have the International logos may not work abroad depending on the settings of your bank on overseas use.

DON’T assume.  If your card was issued from Southeast Asian countries, don’t just assume that they are all accessible anywhere in the world, like I mentioned earlier, depends on your bank settings.  I never had problems with all my ATM cards issued in the Philippines and they all worked abroad.  Although, my Vietnamese friend Trang’s card didn’t work when she went to Singapore, when she called the bank in Vietnam they told her she has to pay extra fees to activate it for her and will take few days to process it, you wouldn’t like that, would you?  Just to be in the safe side, don’t assume, check!

DON’T over use your card overseas.  Although it’s convenient to just withdraw money anywhere in the world when you ran out of cash, I do not advise you to do as you please when you’re overseas due to the conversion fees and bank charges that may apply.  It’s not practical.

If you have checked if you have an International Bank Card or ATM Card and you have understood the do’s and don’ts I rambled above then you’re all set for your good trip.  To keep you worry free on your finance while on the road, I still have some tips for you to keep in mind.

Banking Tips for Travelers

Budget Your Trip.  I am not a planner(but it will work out better if you plan ahead if you are), it doesn’t work for me.  However, I always have a budget on every trip so whatever I do or even I change plans often, I make sure it will always fit into my set budget for that trip.

Maximize Your Withdrawals. That didn’t sounds good hah!  Kidding aside, what I meant is that every time you take money out of your ATM card there will be bank charges and conversion fees, so make sure you maximize the use of your cards when you do. Don’t just take out money when you want to, unless you don’t care about the charges and budget isn’t in your vocabulary.  What I do is that, as soon as I landed at the country destination I’m in I would withdraw the amount of budget money for that place so it will just be one bank charge and conversion fee for me.  If I need more money then that’s the time I will take out money again(but most of the time my budgeting skills are somewhat accurate). You should always have a little allowance from your budget to be safe.

Have an Extra Card. If possible, you should have a spare card and don’t put them together in one place, it can be the extension of your main card or a separate card.

Enroll to Internet Banking. Enrolling your bank accounts using the internet will make you more on track of your finances as you can compare what’s the best ATM machine that offers the lowest bank charges and conversion fees.

Manage your finances well to get to see and experience more places.  I hope that post will help you make your travels lot easier, be safe on your travels!

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2 thoughts on “Banking Tips for Travelers

  1. I pay a monthly fee for an upgraded account with my bank that lets me withdraw money from Visa ATMs worldwide with no transaction fees and generally avoiding bad exchange rates, so I just make regular withdrawals like I would normally.

    The two exceptions I’ve encountered so far have been Thailand, where I’m not exempt from the 150 baht that most banks charge, and Laos bank ATMs, which didn’t even *tell* me they were charging 20,000 kip per withdrawal until I saw it on my bank statement. Sneaky.

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