How to prepare yourself for travel money emergencies | finder.com
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 May 20th, 2019
Name Product Foreign Transaction Fee Welcome Offer Rewards
None
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
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
None
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
None
3% cash back bonus on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5%
3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
None
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
None
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines; 4x points at US restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x points)
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & fees
None
25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months
2x points on gas, groceries and airlines, whichever you spend the most on each month, 2x points on cell phone services and charities and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 in travel after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months. Rates & Fees
None
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
None
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
None
N/A
N/A
An 15 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
None
70,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days
2x miles on all purchases
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
None
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
None
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
None
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
None
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
3x miles on Avianca purchases, 2x miles at gas stations and grocery stores and 1x miles on all other purchases. Plus 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first card use
None
125,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
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

Compare up to 4 providers

Promoted
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.
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