Financial Fitness

Cash or Credit While Travelling

By Interior Savings
September 13, 2019

Your flights are booked and your bags are packed. You’re going on a vacation and you couldn’t be more excited, now there’s just one thing left to figure out… how are you going to pay for things once you get there?

The short answer: A mixture of cash and credit cards.

The long answer: Depending on where you’re going and according to your perfect budget (you budgeted for this trip… right?) you’ll want to ensure you have the right mixture of the correct currency and a credit card.

Cash

Knowing how much cash to bring is going to require you to do a bit of research. In some countries, it is more common to pay in cash, in fact they might not even accept credit or debit cards. A little research can go a long way in ensuring you’re prepared for your travels. A helpful tip: The less “touristy” of a place you’re visiting, the greater the chance they deal almost entirely in cash.

Should you get cash before you leave? Or wait until you arrive at your destination?

We suggest exchanging your money at home. Although it might seem like a pain to carry it with you, especially if you like to go-with-the-flow and aren’t entirely sure where your travels will take you. Exchanging your money at home will not only save you money, but save you from fraud.

There is a $3 charge every time you use an ATM outside of Canada, there’s a high chance you’ll be charged a fee from the foreign ATM’s institution, and you will have a limit on the amount of money you can withdraw. It’s also important to note that you increase the risk of your card being compromised when you use an ATM that you don’t know or trust.

Now that we’ve established that you’ll be exchanging your money at home… Make sure you visit your friendly Interior Savings branch a few days before you head out on your adventure. It can take 2-3 business days to order foreign currency, especially if you’re lucky enough to explore somewhere very exotic!

We don’t want to sound like your mom, and it may seem like common sense… But it’s important to remember that if you’re carrying cash with you, you do increase the risk of losing your money or having it stolen. Always ensure that you keep your money in a safe place, and only carry the amount with you that you’ll need for the day. Make sure you store your money in zippered pockets and keep an eye on your bag when you’re in busy places, where you’re a hot target for pick-pockets.

Credit Cards

Whether you use it for larger purchases like hotel rooms, need it for deposits, or just want it in case of emergency, it’s a good idea to bring a credit card with you. Similar to needing to bring the right kind of currency, the type of card you bring will also depend on where you’re going. We have plenty of credit card options, but we’ve conveniently listed out the best ones for frequent flyers.

US Dollar Mastercard
If you travel to the United States often, it’s probably worth getting a US credit card in addition to your regular travel rewards credit card. This will save you the foreign conversion fee on your purchases, which can add up quickly.

Travel Rewards Gold Mastercard
With 1 point for every $1 spent and double the points for purchases in foreign currencies, this card is great for those that travel to foreign countries, and depend on a credit card once they’re there. This card includes auto rental insurance, emergency health care coverage, trip cancellation insurance, lost or delayed baggage coverage, AND 24/7 travel assistance.

World Mastercard
Earning you 2 points for every $1 spent, this credit card definitely gets you the most “bang for your buck”. In addition to travel rewards, you can use your points to get cash back, which can help you to pay off your Mastercard bill that you gained from your trip. Similar to the Travel Rewards Gold card, the World Mastercard also offers auto rental insurance, emergency health care coverage, trip cancellation insurance, lost or delayed baggage coverage, and 24/7 travel assistance.

Learn more about our credit cards and apply for your perfect card here.

Wherever your wanderlust takes you, be safe, have fun, and make sure you budget accordingly and of course… spend wisely.