How to prepare yourself for travel money emergencies |
How to prepare for travel money emergencies

How to prepare for travel money emergencies

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Make sure your finances are in order just in case something doesn’t go as planned on vacation.

We’ve all heard travel horror stories about a friend of a friend who was stranded in a remote location overseas without any money. While none of us expect the worst to happen on our vacation, it could be you who is in a rut and that kind of stress is enough to ruin a trip.

Read through our travel money emergency guide to learn how to keep your finances intact on you next vacation.

Check out our travel money guide before heading overseas

How can I prepare myself for a travel money emergency?

Making sure you’ve prepared yourself financially could save you a lot of grief in the long run. Here are a few simple tips you should consider before and during your trip to ensure a stress-free vacation:

  • Notify your provider that you’re traveling

If you’re planning on using your regular debit or credit card overseas, let your card lender know where you’ll be traveling. This will save you the hassle of having a transaction declined or blocked as a result of a security precaution.

  • Organize more than one travel money option

The saying “never put all of your eggs in one basket” applies here. — take a few spending options. Travel friendly credit cards can be used for large purchases or reservations for hotels and car rentals. A debit or prepaid travel card can come in handy for ATM withdrawals and smaller purchases. Last, but certainly not least, bring cash — you never know where and when your card will be accepted. Storing cash in a secure area, such as your hotel safe or luggage, is another way to ensure that you have an emergency stash should you need it.

Want to send money overseas before you go?

  • Have your provider’s contact numbers on hand

Doing your research on knowing who to call, what the process is and what options are available — whether it be an emergency cash transfer or a replacement card — will save you time and a headache. Make sure to jot your provider’s contact details down before you leave (in both your phone and luggage). All of this information should be available via your cards Terms and Conditions or you can contact the customer service team directly.

  • If you notice something’s wrong, report it immediately

If you notice suspicious transactions on your account or are unable to access your funds, contact your provider immediately. Resolving the issue could take some time, so the sooner you report it, the better. Some lenders may have a policy about the cardholder taking reasonable steps to protect the account and report irregular behavior, if you fail to do so, you may find yourself unable to get the assistance you need.

The bottom line

While it’s not fun to prepare yourself for an unexpected emergency, it’s a surefire way to reduce stress and minimize further issues. The best strategy to use will always depend on your individual circumstances, so make sure to consider what’s best for you before making a decision.

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A comparison of travel money cards

Updated October 23rd, 2018
Name Product Currency Conversion Fee Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
None (Charge Card)
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on Rates & Fees
See Rates & Fees
25,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
13.99% variable
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Enjoy a $0 annual fee on the first year and earn up to 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases. Rates & Fees
16.99% variable
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
16.99% variable
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
16.99% variable
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
16.99% to 24.99% variable
An intro offer rewards cardholders with a $250 value (25,000 online bonus points) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Compare up to 4 providers

Travelex Money Card

Why we like: Travelex Money Card

Load GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, JPY or MXN onto this prepaid travel money card and use it at millions of locations worldwide.

  • Not linked to your bank account for safety.
  • Convert currency with a 5.50% Foreign Exchange Fee
  • Contactless payments
  • Reload, withdraw, or replace your card for free.

    Kyle Morgan

    Kyle Morgan is a producer for who has worked for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He can be found writing about everything from the latest car loan stats to tips on saving money when traveling overseas. He lives in Asbury Park, where he loves exploring new places and sipping on hoppy beer. Oh, and he doesn't discriminate against buffalo wings — grilled or fried are just fine.

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