5 Ways to Keep Travel Transaction Fees Null and Void

I get it, trust me I do.

You make a budget of how much money you will spend on your voyage, from the tips for cab drivers to the excursions. You are extremely proud of yourself and have every intent on sticking to the plan.

Then you get to your destination and you blow your budget, intentionally or not.

I can’t count the number of times this has happened to me. Either I underestimate the expenses during my voyage or I end up having a surplus, so I get comfortable and spend, spend, spend until I am left with pennies (literally). No more money left? So what? I’d pull out old Plasticia (my name for credit/debit cards) and either charge or withdraw.

Big mistake. Why? Well, I can show you better than I can tell you via the example below. Check out the fees I racked up in Honduras from using the ATM several times to withdraw money from my account:

And this doesn’t include the fees my bank charged.

Reasons why I racked up so many fees?

  • Multiple withdrawals
  • Impatient attitude at the ATM’s
  • Lack of planning
  • Excusing myself to spend, spend, SPEND due to me vacationing
  • Forgetting that using other bank services can result in fees

While trying to be a bit safer by not traveling with too much money AND not following my budget, I paid (no pun intended) for it big time. Looking at that statement makes me want to shake myself, but I can only do better from here. Learn from me and avoid money mismanagement before and during an overseas voyage by implementing these steps (I know I have!)

1. While the ultimate goal is sticking to your original budget, add to it a few cushion dollars so that you won’t be tempted to overspend.

2. Understand foreign transaction fees aren’t just limited to purchases made while overseas. After browsing my bank statements, I was shocked to see that I was charged for simply booking my lodging arrangements in the U.S. for my Belize voyage. Check with your financial institution to see if they charge a fee for foreign transactions.

3. Know that simply inquiring about your balance at an ATM overseas can possibly result in a transaction fee from that bank.

4. Apply for/Use a travel or regular credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. Click this link for more info.

5. Keep charging/withdrawing for emergencies only and not for random purchases. If you find yourself needing more funds anyway, ask your financial institution if they’d consider waiving the fee. It just might happen!

Click here for more of my budgeting tips for your voyage!

Do you have any tips on not breaking the bank during traveling? Tell us about them!


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7 thoughts on “5 Ways to Keep Travel Transaction Fees Null and Void

  1. Great article! I also found out that if using a credit card, you don’t accept the conversion rate from the business you are shopping at aboard. They neglect to mention that it will be a higher rate and a fee. Just let you credit/debit card company convert for you.

  2. tell me about it! Foreign transaction fees are like little uninvited guests at the end of a wonderful trip! Lol
    Luckily, I have a debit card that allows me to get reimbursed for ATM fees up to $10 every month. They’re also very diligent and will call if they find that my card is being used in all sorts of weird countries. So even when I forget to request reimbursement, they call and then i remember to ask them to reimburse me for the fees Lol

  3. Great tips!! Thanks. I have found that using a mix of cash and cards works very well for me. Relying on cards usually leads to some overspending for me, even though I don’t want to carry lots of cash around either. I try to strike a balance.

    1. Yeah, it’s definitely all about balance! I am applying this balance to simply daily living so that when I go back out of the country, I won’t have a ‘live it up and charge/withdraw it’ attitude. It’s definitely a bit safer to carry a credit card around vs tons of cash. Lose your card? So what? Just hurry up and call the credit card company and tell them to cancel it and send a replacement to your address. Lose your money? Now that’s a bigger, stressful issue.

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