Managing money while abroad
Money management abroad is essentially the same as money management at home. It boils down to having a budget, knowing how much money you have, and being careful with your spending so you don’t end up in debt (or in more debt than you can afford). Still, there are a few differences when overseas, such as getting comfortable using foreign currency and transferring money from home. In this section, we'll also talk about using credit cards, checks, and cash abroad and tips for handling money abroad.
Using foreign currency
It’s usually best to bring some local currency with you—enough for the first few days. You can do this at any bank that provides international services. While you’re abroad you can exchange U.S. dollars for the local currency at banks or exchange bureaus as you need it—but be careful not to exchange too much money toward the end of your trip. If you have to exchange the local currency back into U.S. dollars, you’ll be paying twice for exchange fees. Visit a foreign currency exchange rate site at www.xe.com.
Transferring money from home to abroad
If you start to run out of money, there are two main ways to receive money from home—money that is wired to you or U.S. Postal Service international postal money orders.
- Wired money. Companies such as Western Union can wire money to most major cities. Be sure that you have the correct sort codes and address for wiring money to your abroad bank. This service is the fastest way to get money, but also more expensive.
- International Postal Money Orders. An International Postal Money Order can be cashed at the destination country’s post office locations.There are about 30 countries that accept the International Money Orders. Check the
U.S. Postal Service Web site for more information.
Credit cards, checks, and cash
Tips for handling money abroad
When traveling overseas, many of the same money handling strategies apply as in the United States. For example, don’t flaunt your cash by carrying large wads. Use caution at ATM machines so that strangers can’t watch you input your PIN number. But some cautions apply specifically for travel abroad:
- Limit the number of credit cards or ATM cards you carry. Bring the card only if you plan to use it while abroad.
- Exchange money only in banks or authorized exchange bureaus.
- Keep records of your traveler’s check numbers. If they get lost or stolen you will need this information to get them replaced.
- Use a money belt if you’re carrying large amounts of cash.
- If you carry a purse, never set it down while out in public. Not in a restaurant, not in a restroom, not in a store, not in a café. Hold on to it.