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Protecting Your Financial Resources while Overseas

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the best way to eliminate problems with available money is to be aware of the financial aspects before departing. Did you know that you will find better exchange rates overseas than in the United States? Did you know that travelers are arrested in some countries for innocently exceeding the limit on their credit card? Here are some tips for your overseas travel.

Cash:

  • Don't carry large amounts of cash. Either plan to use your ATM/debit card to get cash, or carry traveler's checks. For traveler's checks, be sure to record the serial number, denomination and the date and location of the issuing financial institution. Also, keep this information in a safe separate place so you can quickly get replacements if you lose traveler's checks.

Foreign currency:

  • Before leaving the United States, you should purchase small amounts of foreign currency to use on buses, taxis, phone or tips when you first arrive, unless you know that the country routinely accepts American dollars, e.g. Mexico. Keep the amount limited to get the more favorable exchange rate abroad. Use a financial institution that has an international presence.
  • NOTE: Some countries regulate the amount of local currency you can bring in or take out of the country; others require that you exchange a minimum amount. For currency regulations, check with your financial advisor, your travel agent or the embassy of the countries you plan to visit.

ATMs/Credit cards:

  • ATMs are becoming increasingly popular abroad and offer the easiest and most economical way to replenish cash as you need it. Aside from convenience, you also get the local exchange rate when using ATMs in your vacation destination.
  • Take at least one internationally recognized card. Before you leave, find out what your limit is, and do not exceed it. In some countries, travelers who have exceeded their limit unknowingly have been arrested for fraud. Be sure you have your credit card numbers recorded somewhere other than your wallet or purse.
  • Just as you would at home, immediately report any loss or theft of your credit cards or traveler's checks to the issuing financial institution and the local police.

Emergency funds:

  • Keep the telephone number for your U.S. financial institution with you just in case you need money transferred to you. In most countries, major financial institutions and certain travel agencies can help arrange a transfer of funds from your account to a foreign financial institution.

Lisa Moyers can be reached at (865) 766-3052 or lisa.moyers@pnfp.com.

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