Cash Or Credit Card For Your Travels Abroad?

By | April 13, 2023

Big wad of cash or a sleek Credit Card? Let’s help you figure out the pros and cons of both when travelling abroad, along with a few pro tips on using Credit Cards overseas.

Business or leisure? You do not have to state the purpose of your visit to us, but we know for sure that you are going to spend when in a foreign country. Handling finances could be as daunting as figuring out the many nuances of a new country. However, when faced with the conundrum of whether to carry cash or card while visiting a foreign country, we’ve got all the answers for you in this article. 

First, let us break it for you. You can’t write off one for the other. Stuffing your wallet with cash is going to do you no good. Stretching out a Credit Card to street vendors, neighbourhood establishments, or taxi drivers is a sure-fire way to earn the title of ‘dumb tourist’. So, like everything else in life, it is critical to find a balance between the two.

Why Credit Card/Why Not Cash?

  • Because cash can be clunky. Remember, you’re in a different country and you’re not fully aware of the various denominations, especially if it’s your first time in that country. You might need a few extra seconds to figure it out. It can be a tad frustrating, and your confusion could be a cue for pickpockets and scammers in the vicinity. 

Additional Reading: 4 Ways You Could Get Robbed While Travelling Abroad 

  •  Hard to curb your shopping impulses? Then there is a high chance of you frequenting ATMs to withdraw cash. This could turn into a costly habit, especially when you’re abroad, as fees would be charged every time you withdraw money, and it might eat up a sizeable chunk of your travel budget. Credit Cards usually provide better exchange rates compared to ATM machines and currency stands.

Why Cash/Why Not Credit Card?

  • Cash is king. You have got to tip the waiter, you are in a remote corner of the world, there is a minimum payment limit on Credit Cards, your Credit Card won’t be accepted at some kiosk… There are endless scenarios in which cash can be your saviour. Yes, it might be easier to lose and harder to insure, but cash is accepted almost everywhere.
  • Another major benefit of carrying cash is that it allows easy tracking of all your daily spending and assists you in budgeting more effectively. No need to work out exchange rates, transaction fees, markup charges, etc. When working with a card, and if on a budget, all these fees can be overwhelming. Long story short, cash is easy.

Pro Tips on Using Credit Card Overseas 

Yes, you have got to carry Credit Cards that are widely accepted (Mastercard or Visa) and offer free airport lounge access. You must inform your Credit Card issuer before leaving, memorise your PIN, and carry an ID while gallivanting in the city (you might be asked to verify your identity at places). We’re glad that you know all that, but here are a few pro tips that’ll truly help you save some big bucks.  

  • Most Credit Card providers charge a transaction fee of 1-3% on any purchase that you make overseas. So, get that zero-transaction fee credit card as soon as possible. Look for a card with a low forex markup. Time will be lost in application, approval, and delivery of your new card. Chop chop, act fast!
  • Travel insurance is key if you’re in a foreign land. Therefore, you must carry a Credit Card that includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary rental car coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, and trip delay coverage. If you haven’t checked the travel insurance benefits of your Credit Card, there! We have given you one solid reason. 

Additional Reading: Is Credit Card Travel Insurance Enough For You? 

  •  Ever heard of dynamic currency conversion? It allows you to have a transaction conducted in INR instead of the foreign currency when you’re abroad. It may simplify transactions for you, but it comes at a price as the exchange rates for dynamic conversion are seldom in favour of Credit Card users. Avoid it! 

That’s it. Now, get that perfect Credit Card (and some cash too), hop on that flight, and never look back. We’re kidding, come back and buy us a cup of coffee. Don’t you think you owe us at least that much?


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