1. Call your credit card company and let them know where you’ll be living and traveling so they don’t freeze your card. If you plan on traveling to Greece and Spain on weekend trips, let them know.
2. Sign up for online bill payment. Money can fly out of your hands abroad so its best to be aware of exactly how much you’re spending.
3. Research. Be aware of foreign transaction fees and if your credit card company has relationships with certain banks. Some students have also found that if they call the company ahead of time and ask if they will waive certain fees, they will.
4. Change your pin to 4 numbers. Some foreign ATMs only let you enter 4 digits.
5. Bring more than one card incase you have a problem using one.
6. Make copies of your cards or write down the numbers in case they are lost or stolen.
7. Let family members know not to mail you personal checks abroad. You have to wait until your back in the states to cash the birthday check your Aunt sends you!
8. Dollars are pretty useless once you leave the U.S. (Unless you go to Dollar Night at the Lion’s Fountain!) Bring the foreign currency to the airport for transportation and food the first day and just some U.S. currency for an emergency.
9. Bring proper identification. Some foreign merchants will not accept the U.S. magnetic strip cards without backup I.D. since they now use a more advanced pin and chip system.
10. Be aware of currency rates. For example, you might take out 600 Korunas at an ATM in the Prague airport, only to realize later that is equal to just $35. Check out this list of iPhone apps for a currency converter.
11. Make sure your credit card limit is sufficient for your trip. You might need to ask your credit card company to increase it.