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Checklist Before Traveling: Cash, Credit Cards, Bank Tips

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We all like traveling , especially to new countries. Since we have an amazing opportunity to experience something new in our lives. We can try new food, admire architectural heritage, meet new people. But, unfortunately, traveling goes together with some risks. As traveler is the most naive person and can be easily be fooled by locals. Still, money rule the world and that is the subject of most robberies. Being overseas at totally unfamiliar surrounding makes you most vulnerable. That is why we need to be prepared  for all possible situation during our trips. And protect ourselves and our personal possessions, and belongings. We have a huge checklist before traveling, part of which should always be cash and bank inquiries.
This information is based on my own experience, since I really like travel and try to be prepared in all possible ways.

Checklist before traveling or checking with your bank


1. I do not take a lot of cash with me during traveling. If I take – just enough for some tips and some unexpected situations, in a word –  just in case (no more than $200).  Also part of this cash would be nice to give to your wife/partner/husband, if you travel with somebody. Also in security reasons as well.
2. I do not take all my credit and debit cards from my wallet. Same for your partner/wife/husband.
1 debit and 1 credit would be enough for any trip
3. Debit card should not have a lot of money on it – once again security reasons and safety of your hardly earned money. Me personally have 2 banks accounts. So 1 as a main and kind of savings account, another just for everyday expenses and for travel.
Golden rule : never use debit card for payments overseas as if you use credit card it will be in pending and you will have some time to return and get a refund (for example) hassle free. Cash withdrawal – yes.
4. Before any travel – call the bank and talk with representative to unblock the debit card for using abroad. ( Note that some banks may even block the card if you use it domestically). Just provide information of period of your travel and destination or destinations.Some banks have this option online (Capital One for example).
Also it does make sense to take and write down some toll-free number in case of theft of your card(s), for you to block the card immediately.
5. Credit cards. Same situation with calling bank and unblocking for certain destination.
Better to have the credit card with NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES.
That is very important for overseas travel.
Balance on the credit card preferably to have in ZERO, I mean if your credit card has limit of, lets say $6000-10000, better have it unused. There are couple reasons for that: unexpected situation may call for huge payments (medical or police), as you better be prepared for all sorts of things that can happen to you during trip.
Also some credit cards have chips.
photo credit flickr
Embedded chips provide better security.
6. I can really recommend chosing some trusted bank and credit card issuer.Since you will have more perks and benefits of using credit or debit card, especially abroad.
I will take as an example, Chase bank with their Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card which is part of Chase Ultimate rewards.
Chase provides huge list of Travel Protection for this card.

 Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to ,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
Decline the rental company's collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
When you pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation with your card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to 0,000.
If you run into a problem away from home, call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance. (You will be responsible for the cost of any goods or services obtained.)
If you or your immediate family members' checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you're covered up to ,000 per passenger.
If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to 0 per ticket.
Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to 0 a day for 5 days.

It also makes sense to check your credit card for Purchase protection, for example Chase Sapphire preferred has:

Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to 0 per claim and ,000 per account.
Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer's warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
If a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to 0 per item, ,500 per year.
You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won't take back within 90 days of purchase, up to 0 per item, ,000 per year.
7.  And, of course, I would recommend using some travel credit card, which gains you points or miles for $ spend. So you can use them towards your future vacations and trips.
8. As for withdrawing cash – it may be beneficial to check exchange rate at your local home bank. As exchange rate at your destination country may be lower. And on the other hand, it may be better to use credit card instead of exchanging money for local currency, as exchange rate on credit card may be better. Just check with your bank for your destination/country.
You can also check exchange rates at
p.s. American Express – that is the issuer I would not recommend, if you travel abroad. It is mostly popular in US. For overseas trips better to have VISA or MasterCard issuer.

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