Whether you are planning a vacation, or you are about to leave on a business trip, your spending rules change when you travel abroad. Cash or card? Credit or debit card? Finding the best way to pay for your expenses outside the country can save you a lot of money on your next trip. 

According to moneyunder30, you can find some great credit cards for international travels, but you shouldn't rely solely on your credit card. Throughout this article, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best ways to spend your money on an international trip. 

Cash or card?

Obviously enough, your main trip budget should be on your card, as it isn't safe to travel with a lot of cash on you. However, you should still have some cash (local currency) with you, just in case you can't use your card. No matter how evolved a country is, there will always be some places that don't take card payments or that don't accept any type of card. In the worst-case scenario, your cards could be compromised or even stolen. As such, make sure to always keep some cash on you, preferably separate from your wallet and your credit cards.

Credit or debit card?

When it comes to foreign transactions, credit cards tend to have more benefits. However, in many countries, it will be easier to pay with cash, so you will want to make withdrawals from your bank account. Therefore, it would be wise to travel with both credit and debit cards. Check with your bank to see if your debit card is part of a global ATM network and make sure you have sufficient funds in your bank account. 

It would also be wise to travel with several debit and credit cards in your wallet. This way if by god knows what reason, one of your cards is declined, you will have others to choose from. Even famous payment networks like Visa have experienced service outages in the past, so you should be prepared for any situation. It also helps if you notify your credit card provider of your travel plans, as they might decline your transactions if they consider them suspicious. If you use several cards, notify at least your main bank.

Keep in mind that certain banks might not need their customers to announce before going on a trip. Bank anti-fraud technology is very advanced and if your bank is among the most popular ones, this step might not be necessary. However, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Having your card unexpectedly denied when paying for a souvenir, for dinner, or for transportation is a very unpleasant situation.

Estimating how much you'll have to pay for fixed expenses such as airline tickets and hotels won't be an issue. However, knowing how much money you'll need for restaurant meals, museums, tours, or other miscellaneous things might be a bit trickier. If you haven't recorded these expenses from your previous trips, make sure you do it this time. By using your credit cards to pay for entertainment and meals, you'll have the possibility to check your bank statement and budget more effectively next time you travel. While you are traveling, you can also use different apps to track your spending habits in real-time. This will help you keep a closer eye on your budget and you'll realize whether you're going to break your budget or not.

How to choose a credit card for international travels

Your current credit card may offer a lot of rewards for your daily expenses, but it is probably not suited for international expenses, so you might want to consider a special travel credit card. To find the best cards for travels, you need to consider a few key factors:

  • No foreign transaction fees - Most credit cards charge a fee of about 3% on all purchases made outside the country. However, some credit cards are specifically designed for travelers and they don't charge anything for foreign currency transactions. 

  • Global use - To make sure your card is accepted nearly anywhere, choose a chip-enabled card that is part of a global ATM network (Visa and Mastercard are the best options). As an added benefit, some cards also offer a 24/7international concierge service. 

  • Rewards - A good travel credit card should come with a substantial welcome bonus. Since welcome bonuses are usually conditioned by initial expenses, use the credit card to pay for most of your trip bookings. Some credit cards also offer additional benefits for travel-related payments such as hotel, restaurant or airline payments. 

  • Travel protection - Credit cards that are specifically designed for travel often come with special protection benefits like travel insurance, protection for delayed flights, trip cancelation and much more.