Safety With Money
Exercise caution when carrying money and travel documentation while using public transportation or in crowded areas where pick-pocketing may occur. A money belt worn inside your clothing or a money pouch around your neck is recommended for safekeeping your passport, health information, credit cards or cash.
ATM/Debit Cards (Personal)
ATM (Automated Teller Machine) cards are useful when traveling. However, most banks and/or card companies may charge an extra fee when using an alternate banking location or for international transactions.
To prevent a transaction hold, you may want to advise your bank to add a note to your account if you expect to use your card outside your routine spending region or if traveling internationally. Also, be aware of your daily withdrawal limit and have your bank adjust it before you depart, if necessary.
Credit Cards (Personal)
Travel with a credit card that is accepted in a wide variety of places (e.g. Visa or MasterCard).
Typically, the amount charged to your credit card is based on the exchange rate on the day that your bank or credit card company processed the transaction. Be aware that some banks and/or credit card companies may charge an extra fee for international transactions. Not all international merchants accept credit cards, regardless of the name brand.
Credit cards generally come with fraud protection, so if your card is lost or stolen, your liability may be limited. Take the phone number and account information for the cards you are bringing on the trip, and a back-up card for emergency. These items should be kept in a separate and secure place.
If using a Institute issued PCard, be sure to refer to the PCard Policy for use guidance. Note that the institute’s PCards are blocked from certain purchases (e.g. ATM and other MCCs), on certain card types.
You will probably need cash for some purchases, since not every merchant will take a credit card. Don’t keep all your cash in one place…leave some of it in a secure place off your person (e.g. hotel safe/locker).
How to Exchange Money
For international travel, you can exchange cash and traveler’s checks at banks, airports, railroad stations, large hotels, some tourist information centers, and travel agencies. Every time you exchange money, you can expect to pay a commission or fee, which will vary by location. In some places the commission is based on a percentage of the amount you exchange, while in others there is a flat fee regardless of the amount of the transaction. As exchange rates fluctuate daily, try to keep up with current rates to get the most for your money and always ask what the fee is to exchange money at a particular location. Remember to bring your passport as your personal identification every time you exchange money while traveling internationally.