Category Archives: Money

Travel Money: Bank and Credit Card Travel Notifications

Waking up on the road
Waking up on the road

Imagine that you are just arriving to your dream destination, out-side of your home country.  You are so excited, and you can’t wait to get yourself some food and settled before you go exploring.  It is a totally awesome feeling…until you realize that you can’t take any money from an ATM, because your bank thinks you stole your own bank card.  Gah! That is awful!  Well, at least you have your credit card, right?  But, that is a big negative, as your card is declined the first time you use it.  Oh NO!!!

You forgot to notify your bank and credit card company that you were traveling out of country.  You just also have traveled to a country that has been blocked by your financial institutions.  You now have to call the phone number for each, or you would if you had cash to buy a phone card, and actually had the international phone number….

What a nightmare that would be!

While you are still state-side, call your bank and credit card company!!!  They may also have an on-line way of submitting a travel notification, as well.    I just did this, tonight, for my upcoming trip to Costa Rica.

If you are planning on doing more world travel, consider looking into a credit card that has a chip, and pin combo.  Last year my credit card company automatically sent me a card with a chip that can be used in Europe.  I just have to set up a pin code.  I’ve been to Paris three times, and each time I used my old card, I had to explain that it has to be swiped.  I just annoyed the heck out of the shop clerk.  Yay.  Now, when I go back in 2014, I’ll get to feel a bit more European when I spend my money.  Ha!

Sure, you could bring US dollars, or American Express Traveller’s Checks, but you get really bad exchange rates.  The rate will never be in your favor when you exchange cash at a bank, hotel, or hostel.  Forget about the airport.

Using your bank card to withdraw cash, will usually give you a better rate of exchange, as your domestic bank usually take the best rate of the day, and apply it to any transactions done that day.  Keep in mind that your bank may charge a foreign transaction fee.  I think mine charges three percent.  I usually take out an amount of cash that will last me a while, for things that I can’t use credit cards.  I also don’t take out so much that it would ruin me, if it was lost or stolen.

I try to use my credit card as much as I can.  My card does not charge any fees, and protects my purchases, as well as protecting me against fraud.

All this talk about money, I actually sound like I’m rolling in it.  Not so, but what I have, I plan to use sparingly and wisely.

I’ll be posting, within the next few weeks, about budgeting for long-term travel as well.  So stay tuned!

How much do you really want to do it?

How much do you want it?

Like magic, twenty years later, I am going to do it again.  Some how my life was easy, and I just made a snap decision to reclaim my youth of care free adventure.

Ummmm…. No.

I returned from that trip, went back to my old job – apparently they were harassing my family a couple of weeks before I got back, wondering when I would return to work.  A few months later I decided to change my career from Human Services to Massage.   I worked and taught in the field of Massage for twelve years, and then transitioned into working with the Electronic Medical Record.  Sprinkled in between all that, I bought a condo, had car payments, accrued and paid off credit card debt (tuition & two transmissions), and had major surgery (my head is literally screwed on tight).

You can travel inexpensively, and on some modest savings.  Before you do that, though, debt elimination is key.  It can’t be cheap travel, if you have to support significant living expenses back home.

It took quite a while for me to be able to do international travel again.  It took quite awhile to pay off the debt I had accumulated.  It felt like forever, anyway.  It took me about fifteen years to pay off debt, including car payments and my mortgage.  Yes, I said mortgage.  Why did it feel like forever?  I lived far below my means, and sent all additional monies towards paying off debt.  Not a whole lot of fun.  There is no short-cut.  There were years where I held my bills clutched in my fist, paced and cried.   I’d look at the bills, then at my nearly empty bank account, wondering how this was going to happen.  I would have a couple of jobs at the same time.  One was for food, the other was for debt.  Many years I made Christmas and birthday gifts, instead of buying things.

I’ve done my reading/research on the internet.  I have seen people doing the things I want to do, and others criticizing, or complaining, saying some of the following:

Well, it is easy for you, because:
•    You are getting support from another family member/mate
•    You have/had a great super well paying job
•    You don’t have any debt, you must come from money
•    It must be great to have a job you can take such a long break from, and get back into with no problem.

I can’t do it because:
•    I don’t have the money
•    I have too much debt
•    I can’t take that long off my job, and expect to be able to get back to the same work.
•    I have kids
•    I’m not in shape

How much do you really want to do this thing?  How much do you really want to do extensive travel?  Think of any major goal of your life.  What did you sacrifice to achieve that goal?

There is never a good time to do anything of importance.  If something is important, the best time to do it is now.  Identifying a goal, and then figuring out what you need to do to achieve it, and then DO IT.

 

Note: This is for NANOWRIMO, and will probably get edited later.