As the summer travel season approaches, we wanted to share tips for those preparing for a vacation outside the U.S. Whether you're heading to Europe, Asia, or another part of the world, being prepared may help you avoid unexpected surprises or issues.
Here are answers to a few common questions travelers may have:
Should I exchange money at my local bank before I leave or wait to do it there?
While exchanging money before you leave may be convenient, you may not get the best exchange rate. It's often better to wait and exchange money at your destination at a local bank or currency exchange kiosk. However, research exchange rates beforehand and watch out for hidden fees.
Pro tip: Avoid exchanging money at the airport; that's where you'll probably get the worst deal.
What should I know about using credit cards abroad, and is it better to have vendors do the conversion or let the credit card company do it?
One idea to consider is using zero foreign transaction fee cards, letting the credit card company handle conversions. The credit card company typically offers more competitive exchange rates.
Pro tip: Be sure to notify your credit card company of your travel itinerary in advance to avoid unexpected declines.
What are the best electronic adapters to buy?1
Electrical systems and outlets vary by country, so it's essential to research the electrical requirements of your destination and bring appropriate converters and adapters for your electronics and appliances. Here are three to consider:
Losing your passport while traveling can be a nightmare, so it's important to be prepared just in case. Make a copy of your passport and keep it separate from the original. Having it can help make the passport-replacement process a bit easier.
You'll need to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or American consulate to declare your passport misplaced or stolen. To replace your passport, you must submit a passport application form in person at the embassy or consulate. Remember, once a passport is reported missing, it's entered into the State Department's database and flagged, so if you find your old passport, it's no longer valid for travel.
Pro tip: Consider packing a passport-size photo. If you lose your passport, you will need to have a photo to get a new passport issued.
How do I avoid getting pickpocketed?3
Pickpocketing is a common occurrence in many popular tourist destinations. To avoid being a victim, use your instincts and follow these tips:
1. Travel.State.gov, December 30, 2022
2. CorporateTravelSafety.com, April 21, 2021
3. UpgradedPoints.com, February 1, 2023