Credit or Debit Card? The Debate Continues….

I’ve written extensively about the advantages and disadvantages of using both credit and debit cards while traveling, but have overlooked one important difference between the two that I’d now like to address.

Simply put, credit card transactions offer consumers better protection from fraud than debit card transactions.

If someone steals your credit card Continue reading

5 Tips: Be a Better Traveler

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Ditch The Attitude  (You got a problem with that?)

We all know the type – defensive, argumentative, thinks everybody is out to get them.  The kind of person who can never settle down and enjoy a trip because they’re too busy acting like an ass.
Come on man, breathe.
While a healthy dose of common sense regarding theft, petty scams, and being overcharged for a cab ride is never a bad idea, I can assure you, everyone is NOT out to get you.
I have found that most locals are remarkably generous with their time and almost always eager to help a traveler in need.
That definitely will not be the case, though, if you com across as an arrogant tool.
And if you do get scammed? Continue reading

5 Money Saving Tips For Frequent International Travelers

1) Run, don’t walk, past currency exchange kiosks
Usually found in airports, train stations, and at border crossings, currency exchange booths
NEVER provide a fair rate of exchange and alwaystack on exorbitant fees.
Bottom line: Don’t even consider using them.

2) Do your homework when choosing a credit card
Choosing the right card can immediately save you 2 -3% on foreign transaction fees, provide a substantial boost to your frequent flier account Continue reading

Travel Tip: Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees

Savvy travelers know that most credit card issuers charge an international usage fee (usually 2 – 3%) for purchases made outside the United States.  They do this, they claim,in order to recoup what they are charged by Visa and Mastercard, even though that fee is usually no more than 1%.

What does this mean to you?

Each time you make a purchase in a foreign country the bank that issued your card is earning an additional 1 – 2%, ON TOP of the 1% they have to pay.  Add to that a weak dollar and costly travel expenses, and jet-setting around the globe becomes increasingly less appealing.

I am aware of only two companies that do not charge for foreign transactions.  I’ve listed them below along with the fees charged by other well known banks .

Caveat
:
If you’re the type of person who always carries a balance on your card, read the fine print.
It makes no sense to save 2 -3% on foreign transactions just so you can turn around and pay an APR of 13% or higher.

0% – Capital One
0% – Discover

2% – American Express
2% – Pulaski Bank

3% – Citi Cards
3% – Chase
3% – Bank of America
3% – HSBC
3% – Providian

Travel Safety: 3 Tips

It doesn’t make sense to be hyper-sensitive about the many perceived dangers lurking around each corner when you travel.  It does make sense to be reasonably aware of your surroundings and employ a few tricks to make life a little more difficult for someone trying to steal from you.
Listed below are three helpful tips.

1) Use a towel
When carrying a day pack or large purse worn over the shoulder(s), place a towel or flat piece of cardboard in the bottom of the bag.  Why?  Often thieves will slink up behind unsuspecting victims and slice open the bag’s underside with a razor, then simply walk away with the contents.  This is usually done in crowded areas Continue reading

Travel Tip: On the road in Barcelona, Spain

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Local hangout in Barcelona

I have a friend who loves to travel alone.
One evening not too long ago we were discussing his recent trip to
Barcelona when he casually mentioned something he has done for years.
I think it’s a great idea.
Each time he visits a new city he will locate a bar, cyber cafe, or small restaurant near his hotel.  Nothing fancy, just someplace that feels comfortable.  Then every day at around the same time he’ll stop by for coffee, a meal, or to check his email.
After a few days he will invariably have become friends with at least one kind waiter, bartender, or even owner.
He assures me this little bit of extra effort has enriched his travel experiences more than he could have ever imagined.
I think it’s worth a try.