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Business Travel and Family Vacation Tips: Cash vs. Debit Cards

It’s the details of any trip that makes the difference.  Seriously considering what payment methods to take along is a business travel concern well worth considering!

 

We hear horror stories all the time from passengers who don’t research, plan and prepare for their trips.  We take business travel and family vacation travelers to Philadelphia airport, JFK, Newark and LaGuardia, and back again when they return.  The last thing we want to hear is some tragedy they have experienced with their money while on their trip!  It feels absolutely awful and can even be a disaster.

Business travel is stressful enough!  Family vacation  and holiday event travel, though fun when you get there, may not be as fun juggling kids, paraphernalia and airports!  The last thing you want to experience when you travel is lost or stolen money.  Both cash and debit cards can be stolen, so you can’t use this concern as a criteria with which to choose.  Think about how things go when you travel.  At airports, or traveling to airports you may be rushed.  Items may accidentally fall out of bags or jacket pockets so make sure everything is secure.

 

You may find yourself distracted at security taking off all your items to put in bins – so many things can happen without you looking.  To date it is allowed for you to walk through the scanning holding your cash and cards in hand, while your bags and items go through the x-ray belt.  This is good practice as it keeps you in constant control and contact with your funds.  Putting your purse or wallet filled with cash on an x-ray belt when you aren’t able to keep an eye on it at all times is dangerous in major airports.  The hand is definitely quicker than the eye!

We all think “It couldn’t happen to me,” to have a wallet stolen or pocket picked, but that is often when you least expect it.  We recommend you remain ever diligent and cautious, which in turn will give you peace of mind and a much smoother trip.  After all, as they say, it’s the details and little things that can add up to be major stressors.  Prevention is always worth a TON of cure when it comes to your money.

Take Cash?

If you take cash we know it is convenient and cash can be “king” in our US of A.  It saves you time finding an ATM and saves in fees you pay to use an ATM to access your own money!  If you’re in your native country then cash can be very helpful.  However, we don’t have to tell you that it is also bulky and awkward to carry.  Finally don’t discount the hassle of finding and getting to banks abroad to exchange U.S. cash for the local Country’s currency.

Take Debit Cards are More Complex

Debit cards are thin small and easily fit anywhere.  They provide some better solutions to cash, but they can be stolen as well.  The key to debit cards is that they must be part of Plus, Cirrus or any of the major networks to be useful in other countries, so double check with your issuing bank.  Of course if you’re traveling to a major city in another country your chances are way better, but don’t assume.

Another advantage of debit cards is that they force you to stay within your budget, since you can only take out what is available within your account.

Debit cards are also great for obtaining local currency at ATMs, and your bank automatically figures the conversion and fees, which you’ll see on your bank statement.

Not all ATM machines are equal, however.  You may find your debit card doesn’t work in every one.   If using a debit as your primary then have a backup debit or credit card.  Know too that it may well not be accepted in all stores or restaurants abroad.  Carry cash for daily expenses to avoid this problem.  Being dependent on finding an ATM that is part of your network might not always be so easy in rural regions.  There are hefty fees for using an ATM not in your bank’s network, on top of the conversion rates to local currency.  Even more challenging is you may need to change your PIN as some countries require more than four digits.  Finally, there are ATM scams as well.

Be seriously careful and educate yourself before you travel.  It is always the details that catch you up.  The rule of thumb when traveling, even on a budget, is research, prevention and planning.  It could save you a bundle of money and a huge amount of headaches!

Business Travel and Family Vacation Tips: Cash vs. Debit Cards

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