Wouldn’t travel be great if you didn’t have to pay for it? Sadly, this is not the case and responsible travellers should have a good idea of their payment options when they head out on the road. As an example, for all its technology, Japan is very much a cash based society still so you want to have access to getting money out for trains and vending machines. That being said, it’s still a good idea to have access to credit when you’re travelling and part of your planning should involve comparing credit cards online prior to departure.
There are pros and cons associated with all forms of paying for your trip, so take a look below at a few of the major options for a great holiday!
You really can’t go wrong with cash when you’re travelling as it’s pretty much a guarantee it will be accepted and you know what it’s worth. The downside though is it’s easy to be stolen and some countries actually make it more of a hassle to use than credit options, particularly when you are looking to book accommodations – you can pay in cash, but you often need a credit card to hold it. That being said, shopping in markets and paying cab fare is a lot easier with cash.
Similar to cash in that you use it to take out money to spend, a bank card is a lot more secure than carrying around all your money all over the place. Unfortunately you need to make sure you have access to an ATM machine that recognizes your card (such as the Plus system) and it’s not so good in a rush. Some countries you can even pay with your bank card the same way as your credit card, but if you don’t have the funds the payment won’t go through.
Using credit as your primary means for travel is a wise decision if you’re spending a lot of money on airfare, hotels, trains and everything in between. If, however, you aren’t that good at keeping track of what you spend, you could easily run up a hefty tab that will be waiting for your when you get home and end up costing you far more in interest. Be sure to let your financial institution know you are planning on travelling so they don’t lock your card due to unusual transactions, which is the last thing you want!
Prepaid vouchers are a good idea if you aren’t really sure what you are going to be doing but know you will be using certain services, like a hostel company or train system. That being said, they are the most annoying of all the forms of paying for a trip, since many of them don’t carry the balance over and after a transaction and if you don’t end up using them, they aren’t good for anything else.
As in all cases, the best idea is a little of each when it comes to travelling. Always have a little cash for minor purchases and top up with your bank card when you run low (which is also good if you’re going between currency zones). If you have a few vouchers they are a little bonus to spend things on, particularly if you got them for free, and then major bookings are great for credit. Research your destination though and find out what the locals and other travellers do!