Why You Should Bring Cash With You When Traveling
It’s a must to bring cash with you whenever you are traveling to any foreign country in the majority of cases, whether it’s a first world country or developing. You’ll find that many local businesses, service providers, drivers and other professionals prefer to be paid in cash.
Credit cards or debit cards will not be widely accepted in every country, and although there are other options like traveler’s checks, it is still a good idea to have cash with you for several different countries. Don’t assume that your currency will be widely accepted, even if it’s the U.S. dollar or euro, and don’t assume that you’ll easily find a currency exchange abroad.
It can be difficult to find a currency exchange service overseas with limited time
When traveling to a new area you might have some difficulties with finding an appropriate currency exchange service. Perhaps the services in the area you are staying are too expensive, or they may be located a far and inconvenient distance from where you are staying.
You may have to spend a significant sum of money just on transportation in order to get to an appropriate currency exchange service. You can avoid this hassle during your travels by purchasing currency before you depart. This way you won’t have to take time out of your busy schedule to find a currency exchange service, and you’ll have cash from the very beginning for any unexpected expenses.
Credit cards often charge a foreign transaction fee that can add up
You may also get stuck with a foreign transaction fee on your credit card. You may not even be aware of it until you start using it and get stuck with a bill. The fees can vary anywhere from 3 to 10 percent of your transaction, which is no small amount of money.
You can call your credit card company ahead of time to determine what specific fee you would have if any, but again you will still be better off exchanging your currency for the local currency to avoid these fees. Plus, credit cards are not accepted everywhere, especially in developing countries. There’s also the issue of credit card fraud and the outdated magnetic stripe technology which can result in your card being stolen.
Cash is king
During the first 24 hours of your trip, cash is king, no matter where you go in the world. You’ll need to get settled in, grab a bite to take, take a taxi to your hotel, or a train, tip your doorman, purchase snacks, and other minor expenses. Using a credit card is not convenient or practical in several of these circumstances.
If you don’t have cash with you, you’re going to likely run into a number of difficult and awkward situations, where you may not be able to tip someone or where you may have to scramble to find an ATM or currency exchange service. The first few days of your trip will go a lot more smoothly if you simply plan ahead of time and buy currency online.