Bring a mix of credit cards, cash and travelers checks. Travelers checks are important because they can be replaced if lost or stolen, but you may need some foreign currency to pay for incidentals, like taxis, tips and snacks.
Also, use credit cards when you can because they automatically give you the best exchange rate and they provide a record of your purchases.
Remember that many credit cards have travel-related benefits like purchase protection and emergency insurance.
In case you need extra cash, carry a credit card or an ATM card that can be used on global networks. But beware! ATM fees can cost several dollars per transaction and cash advances on your credit card may come with higher interest rates.
Use pre-paid phone cards to avoid costly hotel surcharges on
telephone calls. Phone cards can usually be purchased at tourist shops and convenience stores.
Before you shop ’till you drop, find out what taxes, shipping and custom fees may apply. Some European countries provide refunds to foreigners on the Value Added Tax (VAT), which can run as high as 20% of your purchases. Check with your travel agent or the embassy of the country you plan to visit.
Merchants in other countries may not grant refunds and exchanges, even if you have a receipt, so ask about the return policy before buying.
Beware of prices that are too good to be true, especially if you are buying expensive jewelry, artwork or other fine items. Get a professional appraiser to access the grade, content and quality to ensure authenticity.
- Study a map ahead of time.
- Dress down- don’t look like a tourist.
- Leave your jewelry in the hotel safe, don’t wear it on the street.
- Wear a money belt, looped into your belt loops.
- Do not talk to people on the street asking for directions, change, etc.
- Bring a flashlight.
- If renting a vehicle, bring a compass so you know your driving direction.
- Don’t leave baggage unattended.
- Stay on the beaten path- don’t stray from “tourist safe” areas.
- Use luggage with wheels to avoid heavy lifting.
- Wear comfortable clothing while traveling that doesn’t constrict or bind. Stand and move around often on the airplane, and drink plenty of water.
- Avoid drinking beverages made of tap water from under developed countries.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat.
- Avoid strenuous activities in hot climates during the middle of the day when the heat is most intense. Your body can lose its ability to regulate your internal temperature at safe levels, and can result in exhaustion and heat stroke.