Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: take a credit card with you that has no foreign transaction fee. And there are a ton of options at your disposal.
Two things you should know about these options first:
- The good: they can offset much of your travel costs. I found that out in a big way recently, after I booked a trip for my fiancee and I to Europe. I was able to book the flights (two round trip tickets) for $260 in taxes. Yes! $260. If I used cash to buy them it would have set me back at least $3,500.
- The bad: most of them have some sort of annual fee. Typically, though, they’re gonna be anywhere between $90 and $150.
Cards that I have with no foreign transaction fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Barclaycard Arrival Plus
Hyatt Credit Card
IHG Credit Card
Hotel branded cards
Many times, hotel branded cards have no foreign transaction fee. Why? Well, I don’t know for certain, but I’m guessing it’s because they’re hotel branded credit cards. Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, etc., have hotels all over the world. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they’d like you to take their cards with you when you stay at one of their foreign hotels.
Airline branded cards
Just like hotel branded cards, airline branded cards often carry no foreign transaction fee. I don’t have any of them, but I would love to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards card. Living in the DFW area, I use the airline a lot and the card comes with a lot of perks.
Other travel cards
Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclaycard Arrival Plus, City Prestige, and the Capital One Venture card are all great travel cards with no foreign transaction fees. The main difference with these is they're not branded with a business (other than, of course, the bank). They're either a kind of cash back credit card, or based on a points system where you can transfer points to their various travel partners.
You might not think paying a foreign transaction fee is that big of a deal. But think about it like this: if you spent $5,000 on a European vacation for your family (which is probably on the low end), you’d spend at least $150 extra in foreign transaction fees! That’s like paying $150 in ATM fees. Who does that? Every penny counts, and there's no sense in throwing some of it away when you don't have to.
You may also like:
-Maximizing (Almost) Free Award Travel to Europe
-How to Maximize Rewards Card Spending
-Credit Card VIP Perks You Didn't Know You Had