Let’s be clear, cash is no longer king – especially when you travel. It’s easy to lose, easy to get stolen, bulky and expensive to exchange. Plastic has taken the throne, and king of them all is the travel credit card. Here are five reasons why you should be carrying a credit card when you travel:
Most travel credit cards offer premium travel insurance embedded in their products for no extra cost. All you have to do is book your travel using your card. Issuers are so hungry for your business, they’ve included insurance protections such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, car rental, travel medical, hotel theft and travel accident insurance. Why wouldn’t you take advantage? The value of the insurance alone can well exceed $750 per year!
When you exchange cash at an airport, hotel, exchange bureau or even your bank, you’re likely paying exorbitant exchange rates. Even if you’re getting a preferential rate at your bank, remember, you’re only negotiating with the power of your own dollars. Now imagine you use a credit card that doesn’t charge any foreign exchange fee? You’ll be charged the spot rate. That’s the same rate VISA and/or MasterCard pay, without any additional margin!
Even if you are charged a 2.5% foreign exchange fee, as some banks will, it’s still better than the 8%-13% you’ll be charged at the airport, hotel or money exchange booth in a tourist area.
If somebody steels your wallet, or you lose it, it’s safe to say your cash is gone forever. Lose your credit card, or have it stolen, you’re not on the hook for any unauthorized transactions. A thief can spend $10,000 on your credit card, and if it’s fraudulent, the bank is on the hook, you don’t owe a dime. That’s an important safety feature when travelling, especially to destinations where theft is common.
Also, should you happen to lose your credit card, unlike cash, your bank will send you another one. Sometimes they can do it as quickly as 24-48 hours. No one’s sending you a parcel full of cash, unless you go down to the bank.
Whether you’re looking to fly free, stay on the house, or travel in luxury, the best travel credit cards can get you there. You might as well take advantage of hefty sign-up bonuses that can get you a return ticket, just for getting approved for the card. And, if you’re going to spend the money, you might as well get rewarded for it with the best AIR MILES rewards that you can. Many credit cards offer 1%-2% back on your spend in the form of rewards points. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better in your pocket than someone else’s.
Many travel experiences require a credit card – cash simply won’t do. For example, ever try to rent a car with cash? Or rent a hotel room with cash only? Both hotels and rental car companies require a credit card in case of damages, when checking in.
Now, we’re not suggesting cash no longer has a place in your wallet. Plenty of places worldwide still don’t accept credit cards. You should always travel with some cash. But where possible, bring your credit card – it could save you a bundle!