Top tips for keeping money safe abroad

“Top tips for keeping money safe abroad”

by Economic Voice Staff via “The Economic Voice

According to research carried out by my Travel Cash, almost one in four Brits (23%) has been stranded abroad without access to cash, with 30% of those reporting that this was as a result of being a victim of crime.  Myles Stephenson, CEO of my Travel Cash, offers advice to travellers to avoid typical pitfalls when heading abroad:

Carrying cash

“To avoid repeatedly paying for ATM charges, travellers often opt to withdraw lump sums of cash when abroad, which could make them vulnerable to loss or theft. Using a prepaid currency card means that ATM charges can be avoided, removing the need for holidaymakers to carry lots of cash with them and giving them peace of mind.”

Dynamic currency conversion (DCC)

“When using a credit or debit card for shopping abroad, tourists are often given the option to pay for the transaction in their own currency rather than the local one – which is portrayed as being more convenient. Rather than DCC simply showing the customer what the amount translates to in their domestic currency, it usually uses a less favourable exchange rate meaning the traveller pays extra. Tourists are better off paying in local currency or with a prepaid currency card to avoid paying these additional charges, as this kind of expense can add up during the course of a trip.”

Wallet (PD)What to do with your bank card

“Prepaid currency cards, such as those offered by my Travel Cash, also come with the added benefit that if the card were to be stolen, the customer’s personal bank account is not linked to it in any way. We advise customers to take out two cards on their account, so a stolen card can be blocked as soon as the theft is reported and any unused balance can then be transferred to the spare.”

Spread the load

“A good tip for keeping valuables safe is to make sure they are not all in the same place. When out and about it’s advisable to carry only what you need. Keep valuables you don’t require, in a secure place such as a hotel safe. When you are out keeping some spare cash in various different places other than in your wallet could help if you were to run into trouble,  it is never a good idea to keep valuables in your back pocket.”

Be discrete

“It is easy to see how tourists draw attention to themselves rifling through the unfamiliar bank notes of another currency when making a payment. It’s best not to make a scene when doing this and carrying a prepaid currency card means it can be avoided altogether.

“We would always advise all tourists to be aware of their surroundings when on holiday, and to make sure they take the necessary precautions to ensure that their trip goes off without a hitch.”

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5 Tips for Traveling with Credit Cards

 

“5 Tips for Traveling with Credit Cards”

by AJ Smith via “Yahoo!”

Whether your passport needs additional pages to accommodate all your stamps or you are planning your first big cross-country trip, it’s important to take care of credit card prep before you pack. Knowing the essentials for traveling with credit cards can help you avoid problems and enjoy your experience.

 

1. Choose Your Card(s) Wisely

Deciding on a card can be intimidating, but some options can help maximize your travel experiences. It’s a good idea to find out what kind of travel perks you could be getting — from concierge services and free flight luggage check-ins to rental car or hotel discounts and medical travel insurance. In addition, it’s good to know what emergency preparations are in place and if your credit or debit card will give you a fair exchange rate. Since you will likely be spending more money than usual, it’s a good idea to use the cards that generate the most valuable rewards. Before you apply for a reward card, it’s also helpful to check your credit score to see if you meet the issuer’s requirements — and apply only for cards you’re more likely to be approved for. (You can see your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

2. Call Ahead

Just as you tell your loved ones before you head out on a trip, it’s important to let your credit card issuers know of your plans. Most companies regularly monitor your spending for fraud and if they notice several purchases that do not align with your normal location or behavior, they might shut down or suspend your card. Give the 800 number on the back of your card a ring and share your destination and travel dates so you don’t get stuck without credit when you need it most.

3. Learn the Fees

Traveling abroad can open you up to a whole new set of bank fees so it’s a good idea to get educated. See if your card incurs foreign transaction fees or excessive ATM fees so you can avoid them or build them into your budget. With a little research, you’ll know how you can shop smartly abroad.

4. Research Restrictions

Some issuers have restrictions on cards being used outside your normal purchasing pattern. This especially affects travel outside the U.S. and can include daily spending or withdrawal limits, so call ahead to ask about these rules and how to lift them for the duration of your travel. . . .

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Gilman Scholarship

Don’t have money to study abroad? Check out the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship!

The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is open to U.S. undergraduate students who demonstrate high financial need. “

ELEGIBILITY

Sharon Kuo

  • “The applicant must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant or provide proof that he/she will be receiving a Pell Grant at the time of application or during the term of his/her study abroad program or internship. 
  • The applicant is applying to or has been accepted into a study abroad program or internship eligible for credit by the student’s accredited institution of higher education in the U.S.
  • The applicant is studying or interning abroad for at least four weeks in one country. Programs going to more than one country are eligible if the student will be in one country for at least four consecutive weeks.
  • The applicant is studying or interning abroad in any country except Cuba or a country on the U.S. Department of State’s current Travel Warning list. ” 

 

“Students Studying Abroad Encounter Unexpected Costs”

“Students Studying Abroad Encounter Unexpected Costs”

by Cait Conner, Rachel Peterson, and Eric Gerken via “Des Moines Register

MARIA COCHRAN-1170x626.jpg

“Steffi Lee had been told about all the expected costs she might encounter while studying abroad from Simpson College of Indianola. Then, something unexpected came up.

A $530 monthly stipend to help Lee, a 20-year-old sophomore, with costs while working as a teacher’s assistant at Krosno State College in Poland did not come.

Lee hadn’t been told she had to apply for a work permit before she could receive her stipend, which was to cover food and travel. “We had to check into the work permit laws, which Simpson and Krosno hadn’t known they had changed. … I didn’t get my stipend until a month living in Poland,” she said.

Lee’s story is an example of the kinds of additional costs that are not accounted for before college students go overseas as part of their studies.

The unanticipated costs can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the person spending the money. Blame can be spread around to students who do not prepare well enough but also colleges’ travel abroad directors who do not tell students enough about additional costs, several students at different small college in Iowa said in interviews.

“Study abroad directors need to know if they need to update their paperwork and regulation information before people get stuck in another country, and being promised one thing and told another thing before they get to that country,” Lee said in one those interviews, for an IowaWatch investigation by senior journalism students at Simpson College into the hidden costs of overseas study. . . . .”

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Book Review: “A Cheap Ticket For Student Travel”

“A Cheap Ticket for Student Travel”

by Gary Chen

A small little guide for the average college student on saving while they travel.

Gary Chen’s new book, “A Cheap Ticket for Student Travel” is a great, yet short, read for college/low income students interested in traveling (especially traveling abroad).  At only 23 pages (in PDF form), you can read through it pretty quickly, but it offers some great insights into how you can travel even on a college student’s budget.  

He opens with a pretty strong argument for traveling while you’re young ~ time, energy, and lack of ties.  This is something I wish a lot more students would keep in mind; by the time you have jobs, families, and other demands on your time and attention, traveling becomes less and less of a likelihood.  Since traveling can significantly add to both your accomplishments and the broadening of your experience, taking that awesome trip now is a pretty good idea.

Most of his advice officially starts in Chapter two, where he begins with the important saving tool – Planning.  This carries through the next two chapters during which he discusses how  even little things like grouping nearby locations together can save money on costs.  Chapter 5 is where he really gets into precise methods of saving as opposed to more general recommendations.  He also has a really great form on pages 17-18 that helps you list out your expected expenses and likely total.  I think filling this out is a great way of reminding yourself precisely how much this might cost you and what you need to save. Throughout the book, he offers some great means of saving and I like the main message he communicates — traveling doesn’t have to ruin you financially!

Writing style: Some of the writing could use some editing and there were a few choppy areas, but overall I found it to be a quick and easy read.  A great addition to the ebook is the number of internal links Chen offers his readers–he frequently links to relevant and interesting articles relating to the subject of discussion.  Particularly helpful are the links to discount sites and saving tools; I might even use a few of these!

If you are interested or thinking about traveling, I recommend checking his book out.  You can find it on Smashwords as a FREE E-book (I like the free part, it matches his theme 🙂 )

READ ON SMASHWORDS

“96 Travel Tips for a Student Budget”

“96 Travel Tips for a Student Budget”

by Kyle Owens via “GoOverseas.com”

backpackers in the backwoods

“College is a memorable time in your life where you can study, meet people and expand your cultural horizon. Why not take that one step further? As a student, you typically spend a lot of your time in the library or in the classroom, which doesn’t leave you too much time for fun. Now, many students empty their savings account and fly somewhere tropical for a spring break trip – but I’m here to tell you how to make those hard earned dollars take you even further (for even longer!). It’s very important to travel and learn about the world outside of your own; however, you don’t need to break your bank account in order to make that happen.

Typically, the cost for a person to buy a one-way ticket to another country is less than one thousand dollars. Now, once you’re there things are going to cost hundreds of dollars, right? Wrong! If you’re a frugal person (and most student travelers are), you can easily manage to fund a trip. You just have to know where to look – that’s where I come in. I have traveled pretty extensively as a student, so I know which corners to cut and which to keep. Who knows, maybe 1 or 2 of these 95 tips will even inspire you to book your own college trip and start traveling! Continue reading

Good Idea!

Just make sure you store it in a zipped pouch so you don’t lose it!