While it might seem glamorous, avid business travellers who journey around the world for work know that’s not always the case.
Travelling with credit cards is often the best option for regular business travellers as it gives you a record of your purchases and is more secure than cash.
Being aware of the basics, such as notifying your credit card issuer of your travel plans, is not enough. It only takes a few times of trial and error to quickly learn how frustrating travel becomes without access to your banking. However, there’s more to smooth travel than just keeping your cards working.
Utilize Your Credit Card for Business Travel
- Maximize Your Miles: Over the years, airline frequent flier programs have become less rewarding with fewer upgrades and more miles required in order to redeem points. Today, many credit cards offer affiliation rewards or travel points to be redeemed with more flexible travel perks to redeem for. In fact, several Canadian credit card options exist that offer travel “miles” through bank-operated programs exclusively. These credit card options can offer redeemable points on all purchases to be applied toward your travel reservations. Choosing these flexible travel rewards programs can give you an opportunity to redeem your points in a variety of ways — beyond just money off your airplane ticket. A lot of travel rewards cards offer travel perks such as priority boarding, waived luggage fees, food vouchers and access to business lounges. This will also protect your points from being locked out or expiring with one specific airline if its policies change to provide fewer benefits.
- Bring More Than One Credit Card: Keep in mind that not all credit cards are universally accepted. More than that, sometimes cards can get declined for technical reasons alone. It’s smart to bring more than one card from different providers plus a debit card too. Additionally, always have a backup credit card that’s stored somewhere other than in your wallet or purse. This is a safety precaution in the chance that your purse or wallet is stolen or lost.
- Have Online Access to Your Banking: WiFi connections can be inconsistent when travelling. Make sure that your mobile phone is equipped with the correct banking apps and your online banking passwords are working and saved. Being connected to your bank gives you the chance to block a lost or stolen card immediately. Before you venture on your travels, find out what accommodations your card issuers make in emergencies. Some card providers with concierge services can get money to you if your wallet is lost or stolen or get a new card in your hands quickly.
- Carry Photocopies of Your payment Cards and Documents: Keep physical photocopies of your credit cards in your luggage or upload photos to cloud accounts or emails. This travel tip gives travellers an opportunity to access their funds in a pinch. It’s also smart to save your credit cards toll-free numbers on your phone’s speed dial so that you can call them without access to WiFi or your credit card if it’s lost.
- Review Travel Insurance Provided By Your Credit Card: Many credit card companies offer extra benefits for being a cardholder including travel insurance. Check your cardholder agreement for coverage information on emergency medical, rental car coverage and even trip cancellation. It’s important to note the activities you will be partaking in and make sure you have comprehensive coverage. For example, if you are injured while partaking in physical activities such as skiing or canoeing, this traditional Medical Travel Insurance may deny your claim. If you are unsure if your policy covers the activities you have set out to do, contact a broker to discuss your policy.
- Use Your Debit Card, Get Cheaper Currencies: Sometimes the highest fees for currency exchange are at the airport. One of the best ways to get a good rate on the local currency overseas is to use your debit card at the established ATM in that area. You might still pay a fee but oftentimes the currency exchange rate can be a bit more competitive. Make sure to use an ATM at an established bank and not an affiliated partner. Not all ATMs are trustworthy, so be discerning.
- Review Your Transaction Records: Travelling with credit or debit cards gives you a direct record of your transactions and is easier to travel with than cash. Reviewing your transaction records post-trip can help you budget out future travels next time. This will give you a better idea on what your travel needs are the next time your shopping for a card or want to explore other programs out there.
- Keep Track of How Much You Spend: You’d be surprised how much you spend while travelling, and those rewards can add up pretty quickly. Depending on what type of credit card you use, you could earn several hundreds of dollars in cash back or travel credits. By reviewing your transactions, you’ll be able to explore the best product for you. For example, if you fly to the same destination regularly, you might want to look into airline-mileage rewards. If you’re travelling abroad through other means, hotel fees waived and access to complimentary lounges might be more your speed.
Either way, there’s no denying that modern banking can make travelling easier and more accessible. Using these tips will give you peace of mind and help you to enjoy your trip in its entirety.
Need travel insurance for your trip? Speak to a broker about travel insurance.