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Travel credit cards
Travel Credit Cards:
Rules For Travelling With Credit Cards

Provided you know how to make the most of them, credit cards can be a great thing to keep with you at all times.  This is especially true when you go on holiday abroad.  Travel credit cards provide a quick and easy way of paying for goods and services in many foreign countries, and while you will usually be charged every time you use them, they can still be safer to use than cash. 

But in order to get the best out of your credit cards for travel when you go abroad, it's vital to bear the following points in mind before you travel.  Despite some of the horror stories you hear about people having their travel credit cards stolen, or being charged large amounts of money for using them, you can come out on top with your credit cards for travel so long as you are in the know.

Frequent travellers should consider travel credit cards.

Travel credit cards can be the best bet if you are constantly travelling for either business or pleasure purposes.  Their main advantage is that you will receive an incentive every single time you use them—usually related to how much you are spending overall—which is of interest to you.  Air Miles are a popular incentive that many credit cards for travel offer.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't still be aware of all the other issues which relate to using credit cards for travel purposes.  If you choose a card which offers Air Miles but discover that the interest rate is much higher than a competitor's card which doesn't offer Air Miles, the chances are you will lose out in the long run (if you don't pay off your balance immediately), so keep an eye on the overall figures on travel credit cards.

Make a note of all your “lost card” telephone numbers before you travel.

This would seem to be common sense when you are travelling with credit cards, but not many people actually make a point of doing this with their travel credit cards.

On the back of every single card you have there is a phone number which you will need to ring should your travel credit card be lost or stolen.  But if you don't write that number down the only person who will be able to use it is the thief who stole your card in the first place.

Write all the credit cards for travel numbers down and be sure to keep them somewhere safe—and in a different place from your credit cards.

Make security your top priority when preparing your credit cards for travel.

Most thieves are opportunists.  They will be on the look out for people who are clearly travellers and whose attention is anywhere other than on their travel credit cards.

Don't draw attention to where you keep your cards by patting your pocket or checking your bag.  Money belts are a good idea as they practically take away the risk of an opportunist trying to grab your credit cards for travel while you aren't looking.

Bear in mind the issue of safety when you are at your hotel as well.  Lock your cards away if you can, even if only in your suitcase.  A suitcase is much harder to get into or carry away than a credit card which has been carelessly left lying on the bed.

Only take the best travel credit cards with you–not every one you own.

There is usually no need to take more than one or two credit cards for travel purposes.  It's always a good idea to have a back up, but any more than that is asking for trouble if you should lose your wallet or leave your cards lying around.

If you have a specific travel credit card then take that, plus one other one which keeps its charges low for foreign transactions.  That should be all you need.

Don't underestimate the value of photocopies.

It's advisable to photocopy all your credit cards before you travel, and keep them tucked away in a separate place from your actual cards.  That way, if the worst does happen you won't be struggling to remember all the information on your travel credit cards when you ring the emergency number to report your card as stolen.

Going on holiday–or on business abroad–doesn't just mean choosing the right credit cards for travel.  It also means keeping your travel credit cards safe and being sensible to ensure you don't lose them to someone else.

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