Skip to main content
Credit Cards
Cash or Credit? International Travel Tips for Traveling Abroad When traveling abroad, should you use cash or credit? Review these international travel tips to see what payment method is best for you. international travel tips, tips for traveling abroad, tips for international travel Bank of America International travel tips: Should I pay with cash or credit card? If you're planning a trip abroad, it's important to think through how you're going to pay for things at your destination. In some situations you might need to use the local currency, while in others it might be advantageous to use a credit card. Here are some tips: 1. Alerting your bank Let your bank or credit card company know that you're traveling before you leave so that they don't suspect fraudulent activity. Bank of America customers can set a travel notice by signing in to online banking or calling the number on the back of the card. 2. Obtaining foreign currency before you go Before your cruise or flight departs, stop by your bank and pick up currency for the countries you'll be visiting. 3. Paying for local transportation Not all local cabs, buses or trolleys accept every type of credit card, so be prepared to pay in the local currency. You may be able to lock in a more favorable exchange rate if you obtain foreign currency before you go. 4. Purchasing lodging Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for lodging. However, verify beforehand that your hotel accepts your card. Also be aware that some cards charge fees for every international transaction. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card does not. 5. Paying for meals out Have enough cash on hand to pay for your meal in case local restaurants don't accept your credit card. 6. Getting cash from ATMs Though using an international ATM is simple, you could be charged extra fees. Bank of America customers can limit these fees by using our international partner ATMs. 7. Purchasing souvenirs If you're buying a gift at a small shop off the beaten path, you may need to use cash. However, if possible, consider using a credit card for bigger purchases so that you don't have to carry around large amounts of cash. Finally, as you look ahead to your next trip, the travel rewards offered by some credit cards can help you save on costs. For example, you earn travel reward points for purchases made with the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. You can redeem these points for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees--putting you that much closer to your next getaway.

Learn About Credit

International travel tips: Should I pay with cash
or credit card?

Couple sightseeing while traveling internationally

What you need to know about money when you travel abroad

If you're planning a trip abroad, it's important to think through how you're going to pay for things at your destination. In some situations you might need to use the local currency, while in others it might be advantageous to use a credit card.

Here are some international travel tips to help you plan:

  1. Alert your bank
    Let your bank or credit card company know that you're traveling before you leave so that they don't suspect fraudulent activity. Bank of America customers can set a travel notice by signing in to online banking and following the prompts to set a travel notice.
  2. Get foreign currency before you go
    It's smart to obtain foreign currency before you go. That way you'll have cash in hand when you arrive at your international destination, and you may be able to lock in a favorable exchange rate. Bank of America customers can order foreign currency easily online.
  3. Have cash ready to pay for local transportation
    Not all local cabs, buses or trolleys accept every type of credit card, so be prepared to pay in the local currency.
  4. Verify that hotels take your credit card
    Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for lodging, but check beforehand to make sure your hotel accepts your credit card. Be aware that some cards charge fees for every international transaction. Consider using a card designed for travel, such as the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card also includes chip technology for enhanced security and protection when making purchases at chip-enabled merchant terminals outside the country.
  5. Bring your card and cash for meals out
    Have enough cash on hand to pay for your meal in case local restaurants don't accept your credit card.
  6. Limit fees by using the right ATMs
    Although using an international ATM is simple, you could be charged extra fees. If you're a Bank of America debit card holder, you can help limit these fees by using our international partner ATMs. Be aware that many international ATMs may not accept PINs longer than four digits. If your PIN is longer, contact your bank to change it before you leave.
  7. Use cash for small souvenirs, credit for larger gifts
    If you're buying a gift at a small shop off the beaten path, you may need to use cash. However, if possible, consider using a credit card for bigger purchases so that you don't have to carry around large amounts of cash.

Finally, as you look ahead to your next international trip, the travel rewards offered by some credit cards can help you save on costs. For example, you earn travel reward points for purchases made with the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card. You can redeem these points for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees—helping you offset the cost of your next getaway.