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Money tips for overseas travelers

Check for fees. Track down the overseas fee policies for your credit and debit cards. Bring cards with the most traveler-friendly policies.

This is a test. Be sure to test ATM and debit cards before leaving the country, and make sure you have a four-digit, numeric personal identification number (PIN) for your card. Many ATMs outside North America do not have letters on the keyboard or the letters appear in a different order.

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Make copies. Make copies of all the cards you'll be carrying on your trip. Give a copy to a friend back home and bring a copy with you. "Basically before I head abroad I dump my money belt on a copier," says Edward Hasbrouck, author of The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World.

Pack lightly. Travel expert Joel Widzer makes more than a dozen overseas trips in a year. He takes two credit cards, a debit card and a couple hundred U.S. dollars. "My whole theory is to keep things simple," says Widzer, author of The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel.

Carry a spare. "It's a really good idea to have a backup card you keep in a separate place from the rest of your cards," says Don George, travel editor of Lonely Planet Publications.

Bring a list of emergency numbers. Because 800 numbers can only be used in the United States and Canada, be sure to get a local number for your bank that you can call if your card is lost or stolen.

Editors' note: Please also see our newest story on the topic of currency conversion.

 
-- Updated: Dec. 1, 2003
     

 

 
 
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