How to Manage Your Finances Abroad

In our last post we discussed some ways to save money and finance an epic trip abroad.  Saving your money before you go isn’t the last of your financial worries however – there are many things to keep in mind while managing your money from the road, especially when you’re traveling internationally!

Credit Cards

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Different banks handle international transactions differently.  Before your trip, check with your bank an accounts to see what they offer in terms of international supports, fees and security.  If you’re going abroad or traveling throughout many countries over an extended period of time, consider looking into opening an international bank account that will allow you to convert your money easily between different currencies as well as conduct smoother money transfers and put limits on processing fees. Exchanging currencies, transferring and accessing money can often become an annoyance when traveling long term but an international account could help you cut down on that.

It’s also important to let your bank know when and where you’re traveling to avoid any possible fraudulent charges.

Credit and ATM Cards

While credit and ATM cards make it easy to pay for things and access cash around the world, they often come at a steep price.  Along with checking out your bank’s international services, look into how your credit and ATM cards can be used abroad.  Are there high processing or international fees?  Accounts that provide fee-free cards are available – you just need to do some searching to figure out which service is the best fit for you and your travels.  Don’t let fees surprise you when you get home because you didn’t do your research ahead of time!

Keep In Mind

  • Depending on where you travel, some countries use credit cards more for paying for items while others, like Thailand or India, rely almost entirely on cash.  Know what the situation is like in the country you’re visiting before you go.  For example, a special credit card with low international may not be entirely necessary when traveling through Laos, but you’ll definitely be hitting up the ATM often for cash so would want a checking account and ATM card that allowed you to do that.
  • Always have a clear idea of what the exchange rate is for the country you’re in compared to your home currency.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed while trying to convert prices in your head or looking for the best place to exchange money, but if you regularly check the conversion rate you’ll be more comfortable knowing exactly what you’re paying for.
  • Always be aware of how much cash you have on you as well as where your credit cards or other banking information are located.  It’s usually a good idea to keep your money and your cards in the same spot so you won’t misplace them in the shuffle of traveling, packing and repacking.


In order to make your long-term travel run smoothly, it is important that you plan how to handle your money, and try to have a clear budget of how much you intend to spend, in advance.