Make yourself aware of the currency of the country that you are going to… most countries in Europe now use the € euro, but not all … Switzerland is one.
Get familiar with the exchange rate… if you don't know how much £1.00 is worth you won't know if someone's trying to rip you off. Changing cash can be done in the UK at banks, airports, post offices etc. the rule should be to shop around before leaving. Try changing money at an establishment that will allow you to change any leftover money back commission free … this can save you a few pounds.
Credit cards are a good tool to have whilst you are abroad here are some tips …
What credit cards do I need to take with me?
Take your major credit card, such as, Visa, Master Card and American Express, make sure you have enough credit.
Make sure they are really credit cards and not just debit cards with a credit card company's logo on them. Many locations require a credit card and will not accept a debit card, so they may have limited use on your travel.
Leave all your local store credit cards in a secure location at home; there will be no need to carry them with you.
Why should I contact my credit card companies before I leave?
You want to notify them of your trip. They may delay you if they are unaware you are travelling. The unfamiliar spending patterns might cause them to suspect that the card is being used fraudulently and delay your approvals. They will be able to explain many of the services that they can provide while you are on your trip.
How can my credit card company help prepare me for my trip?
Should I use my credit card when I travel?
Yes, using your credit card can be more valuable than using cash, so use it when you can. You'll probably be able to get a better exchange rate than changing money to spend yourself. You'll be in a stronger position; the credit card company can often charge back disputed charges. Many times your credit card will offer an extra guarantee or warranty when you purchase items with your card, but you'll want to read the fine print for exceptions. You won't have to risk your safety by carrying and displaying large amounts of cash. If you lose your card, most credit cards have a low maximum liability limit if you quickly report the card as lost.
Should I use my ATM card while travelling?
Yes, with the ability to draw out small amounts of cash as needed, you can avoid the risk of travelling with large amounts of cash. Using your ATM card can also be a good way to get cash in foreign countries. The ATM will issue money in local currency. You should exchange at the bank's wholesale exchange rate. You may still want to shop around to different banks since some will charge a high usage fee for their ATMs. Although, even high ATM fees may be less than others will charge for currency exchanges. Don't wait until you're out of money to go to an ATM, the machines can run out of money or break down.
How can I make sure I'll be able to use my ATM card while travelling?
Where can I get quick access to cash while I'm travelling?
www.visa.com/pd/atm/main.html - Visa's ATM locator web page. This site provides a searchable database that locates ATM's belonging to the Visa, Visa Electron and Plus ATM network worldwide.
www.mastercard.com/atmlocator/index.jsp - MasterCard's ATM locator web page. This site provides a searchable database that locates. ATM's belonging to the MasterCard and Cirrus ATM network worldwide.
Travellers Cheques are another method of payment…
What should I know about using travellers' checks?
If the particular brand of travellers' checks are accepted in the country and area you'll be visiting.
How widely they are accepted within the countries and areas you'll be visiting.
Any fees for purchasing and using the travellers' checks.
The travellers check company's loss, replacement and refund policies.
How can I protect my travellers' checks while travelling?
Take the same precautions you would to protect your cash. Be sure to learn and follow the procedures required if you lose your travellers checks. You'll also need to make copies of your travellers' checks before you go and keep separate from them the following information.
The serial numbers of the travellers checks.
The denomination of the travellers' checks.
The date and location of their purchase.
The phone number to call to report them missing
Leave a copy at home and take a copy with you (keep it separate from the travellers' cheques)
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