If you’re going out of town for a while, especially out of the country, it’s important to make sure your money is managed. This means taking care of your bank accounts, credit cards and any other money matters you deal with on a regular basis. By taking care of this ahead of time you will be able to avoid international transaction fees and the drama of missed bill payments while you are away. You will also save a lot of time by preparing your finances early on.
The first thing you should do is set up online payments with each of the different bills you have. You can either do this by setting up bill pay through your bank or setting up electronic payments through the companies you owe. The choice is up to you and whichever way you prefer paying.
Make sure the payments are coming out of an account that is going to have money in it. For example, you should pay your phone bill or mortgage with the account that your paycheck is deposited into. Since your paychecks will automatically go into that account, you won’t have to worry about overdraft fees. If you don’t have automatic deposits for your checks, set this up with your employer and bank several weeks before you leave.
Have a person in charge of your bills to double check they are being paid. This should be someone you trust, like a partner or family member. You should also check your accounts online whenever you are able to.
Tell your bank you are going to be leaving to a different country or state. Most of the time their won’t be a problem conducting international bank transactions but If you don’t tell them about your travels they may call as a security measure to make sure your account is secure.
Also ask your bank what types of international fees they charge. While your bank might have low fees there are usually fees attached to international ATM’s.
If you only have one bank account, go and open a second one. This will protect you just in case your account were to be closed for any type of reason. The last thing you want is to be stuck in another country or state without a way to access your own money.
Having a stash of cash is always a good idea when travelling overseas and pounds, dollars, and euros are always easy enough to exchange. If you are going to a different country, exchange some money ahead of time so you have some local currency when you arrive. Once you are on the ground you can then get a feel for which exchange office is offering the best rate. If you travel often and deal in larger amounts of foreign currency you might want to consider offshore savings accounts as an option to manage your money.
In addition to using your regular credit cards, consider purchasing prepaid travel cards as well. These are great for traveling internationally because they have the currency loaded right on them. These are particularly good if you want to set yourself a strict spending budget and it is handy to have in case you lose a card, but just be sure to carry them separately for that idea to work.