By Sudarshan Motwani
“What’s the best season to travel abroad?” The answer to that question will undoubtedly be ‘all’ if you’d ask a globetrotter. With innumerable destinations to explore, so many people to meet, and countless experiences to indulge yourself in, there is some place or the other in the world that is ideal to be visited during a specific time of the year. But travelling to a distant land can also invite fateful events that could leave you in a veritable tizzy and turn your cherished holiday into an absolute nightmare. So, here are five things to check off your list before you plan to carry currency during an international vacation:
Get yourself a forex card: Forex cards are hailed as the best way to carry foreign currency. This is because of their broader advantages such as high cost-effectiveness in terms of conversion rates, greater flexibility, enhanced security, and protection against currency fluctuations. Forex solution providers lock money at a pre-booked exchange rate which can be used by a vacationer despite the soared prices later (since foreign currency generally treads in the upward direction). A few online money exchange platforms even enable you to lock in current prices for as long as three days (without purchasing the card) and also allow you to set a rate alert for the exchange rate desired by you.
Carry adequate cash: You must also carry sufficient amount of cash with you. It will come quite handy, especially when visiting a remote location where it’s highly unlikely to find a PoS machine or bank ATM. Ideally, this amount should be anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of the overall currency that you’re carrying abroad. But the ratio largely depends on your itinerary. Take stock of whether or not the destination that you’re travelling to is digital transaction-friendly and make your estimations accordingly.
International Debit or Credit Card: You must further add a layer of security by carrying an international debit or credit card before leaving the country. However, avoid using them abroad as they bear considerable disadvantages. These include high withdrawal fees (around $10 to $25 per transaction) and cross-currency charges (of up to 3 to 5 percent). These cards will come in use only if your forex card, unfortunately, gets misplaced at any point.
All eggs in a single bucket: Never keep your money and cards at one place as doing so will make you prone to losing everything and being stranded in case of an untoward event. In case you lose your baggage or wallet somehow, you will be left completely helpless. And considering that you’re in a foreign land – not many options will be at your disposal. While you can always avail physical currency by your forex provider in this scenario, even if you have all of your money in a forex card, you’ll still remain stranded in the meantime.
Be prudent: As a protective measure, apply for an additional forex card linked to the same account or a different trading account altogether. This will ensure that you do not waste your precious time abroad in case of an unsolicited event. A different trading account will help you allocate a specific sum along with configurable daily spending limit for any teenager accompanying you. Also, enable phone banking or online banking if not done already, as any unwelcomed event would require you to operate your account via these methods. It will also enable you to instantly transfer funds just in case you decide to extend your vacation or indulge in an unplanned luxury. In the same way, avail travel insurance beforehand. It will grant you cover against baggage loss, medical expenses and reparation, trip curtailment, as well as home burglary in case you’re living with relatives or in an AirBnB.
Travelling abroad for your vacations is the best experience that you can offer yourself and your family. Following these pieces of advice will, however, ensure that your vacation remains the way it is supposed to be – just splendid!
(The Author is Founder and CEO, BookMyForex)