So you’re going on vacation. And you’ve already booked the flight, the hotel, and found a few fun sightseeing things to do while there. Almost everything that can be taken care of beforehand has been. However, there’s still one glaring question you need to answer: how much cash should you take with you (yes, I’m talking about the green stuff...er... at least that’s the color of cash in the U.S.)?
Here are a few tips to help you figure that out:
Do your homework
What I mean by this, is do some research on your destination when it comes to paying with credit cards or debit cards. Many places around the world deal with that stuff differently than the States. Sometimes you’ll find retailers won't accept anything but cash - as was the case when I was recently in Prague - or they’ll add some sorta surcharge when you use a credit card, making it more expensive than paying with cash.
If the place you are headed makes it difficult to pay with cards, this may help determine how much cash you’ll need to bring.
Finally, figure out if the country you’re going to requires cash for a Visa (i.e. Africa or parts of Asia).
See which of your cards don’t have a foreign transaction fee
I’ve talked about this several times before, but it’s certainly worth repeating. When going out of the country, double check your credit/debit cards to see if they have a foreign transaction fee. Most “non-travel” cards probably do. That means whenever you use that card to buy something in a foreign country, you’ll be charged a fee by the bank (typically around 3%).
On the flip side, most credit cards marketed around “travel” probably won’t have a foreign transaction fee, meaning you can buy whatever your little heart desires with your credit card and you won’t be charged an extra fee.
Make a budget
Once you figure out the card situation you should make a budget. A budget is especially important if you plan on bringing mainly cash. As a rule of thumb, a budget of $100 per person per day would probably work most places. Of course, depending on where you go, your travel style, special occasions, gifts, etc., your daily budget could vary quite a bit.
A good tool to use as a starting point - which will give you a more specific number - is this calculator.
When traveling, you’ll want to take precautions with your cash and credit cards.
If you’re looking for more tips on travel, like an in depth packing list, the best tips on how to avoid getting sick while traveling (yeah, we’re getting to flu season), and much more, sign up below to get access to my free library of travel resources. A lot of good stuff awaits!