Do you have cash in your wallet? Probably not. There are more than 68 million credit cards in circulation in Canada, and debit card swipes make up 35 per cent of Canadian transactions. Canadians rely heavily on debit and credit cards, but this is not the case on a global scale.
Many countries do not accept debit. How about credit? Well, Visa is accepted in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, but that won’t help you in some countries when you need a cab, need to leave a tip, or want to purchase a souvenir at the outdoor market.
Before you embark on your globe-trotting adventures, make sure you have cash on hand – and make sure it’s the right currency.
Here’s how to make sure you have the cash you need:
Learn what currency you need:
Going to Europe, so you need Euros, right? Not necessarily. There are nine European countries, including Denmark and Sweden, that do not use the Euro. Before your trip, learn what currency you need and make sure you have the right cash for each zone. For example, if Denmark and Germany are on your itinerary, you need Danish Kroner and Euros.
Learn where to get the cash:
There are several ways to get the currency you need but remember, exchange rates and fees always apply. The fees differ depending on where you exchange your money.
One of the easiest ways to get foreign cash is to buy or exchange it at your Canadian bank. Do this well in advance of your trip, as some banks must order in the money you need and require at least five business days.
You can change money on the go as you travel from country to country and convert the remainder back to CAD by using an exchange booth or ATM at the airport. All major airports have an exchange office or exchange machine.
Most popular urban tourist destinations also have exchange offices (you are much more likely to find one in busy London than while backpacking in the Himalayas). Again, be sure you understand enough of the language, exchange rates, and fees to ensure a fair exchange on both sides.
Learn how much cash you should carry:
No matter where you are in the world, carrying huge wads of money is not a good idea. Unlike a credit card, once cash is lost or stolen, it’s gone for good. Take the time before your trip to determine when you will need cash (cabs, tips, shopping, meals, etc.). Keep the amount you need for the day on hand and leave the rest in the safe in your hotel room.
Carry a Credit Card:
While you need cash for small expenses while you travel, you should also carry a credit card. Sometimes unforeseen expenses pop up, such as the hotel losing your reservation, a medical emergency, or having to relocate unexpectedly due to a natural disaster.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards in the world. If you don’t like to use credit, or you are worried about racking up the card, opt for a pre-paid Visa or Mastercard instead.
Be Prepared and Have Fun!
Travelling is one of life’s best luxuries. Exploring the world and seeing new cultures is very enriching. You’ll quickly learn, however, that no matter where you are on the planet, things cost money; and for that, you’ll always need to have the right currency and amount of cash on hand.
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