Travel might not be for everyone, but there’s a lot to be said for exploring the world.
Getting to experience other cultures, exotic foods, and different environments.
There’s a beauty in leaving what you know to go see new things and meet new people.
But travel isn’t all sunshine and roses – especially when traveling internationally.
It takes a lot of planning and just as much prep work. You’ll need to:
- pack, while planning for everything but somehow not overdoing it,
- make sure your house (and fur-babies) are being taken care of,
- get traveler’s cheques or the correct currency for where you’re going, and
- depending on where you’re going, get vaccinations and pills.
While most of the above tasks are unavoidable, adding the right credit card to your wallet could really help cut down on some of the stress of traveling.
Using any credit card when traveling gives you convenience and security, but some cards are better than others, especially for international travel.
For instance, a Visa or Mastercard would be better when traveling outside the U.S. since acceptance for the Amex and Discover networks isn’t as wide.
You should also look for a card that:
- waives foreign transaction fees,
- covers you with travel insurance,
- gives you added security, and
- helps you earn travel rewards.
Credit cards with no foreign transaction fee
Using a credit card when you travel means you’ll be able to make purchases as normal.
You won’t need to worry about getting your money exchanged, carrying around a bunch of cash, or finding somewhere that will take your traveler’s cheques.
Instead, you can carry around one or two cards, and let them do all the work for you.
However, there’s a catch.
In most cases, anytime you use your credit card for a foreign currency purchase, you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee.
This fee is often around 3% and can add quite a bit to your travel expenses.
If you spend $2,000 in foreign currencies, you’ll be charged an additional $60, and no one wants to give away $60.
But don’t worry, many credit cards will actually waive this fee, including the following:
So, if this is a fee you want to avoid, it thankfully can be done.
Credit cards with travel insurance
Travel insurance is another feature that could relieve some of the stress that comes with international travel.
The last thing you’d want is to be in a foreign place with an expensive rental car accident or without your luggage.
Thankfully, these 5 types of credit card insurance could help you out in such situations.
The most common type of travel insurance available is travel accident insurance.
Travel accident insurance will pay out a lump sum in the case of accidental death, dismemberment, or eligible injury while traveling on a common carrier.
Trip cancellation and interruption
Trip cancellation and trip interruption will protect you from eligible financial losses if you need to cancel your trip or cut it short.
Imagine if you plan your perfect dream trip, but then need to cancel before your flight even takes off. Or you get to your destination, but need to rush back home because of an emergency.
Not only would it be pretty disappointing, but you could also lose out on quite a bit of money since some travel is non-refundable and other travel doesn’t allow for changes once booked.
Imagine getting halfway to your final destination, only to find out that your next flight is delayed. An hour or two is bearable, but what if it’s delayed for 5 hours or 10 hours or a whole day?
Depending on how long your delay is, you might need to buy a meal, buy a few meals, or even get a hotel room.
If you put your flight on a credit card that comes with flight delay insurance, you’ll be able to get reimbursed for those expenses. Whether you get paid for these expenses or not depends on the length of your delay, and that set length can vary from card to card.
Delayed, lost or stolen baggage
Or instead, imagine if you do get to your destination free of error, but your luggage doesn’t.
The same insurance that covers you against delayed flights, will also cover you against delayed luggage. You’ll be reimbursed up to a set amount, to cover the expense of toiletries and a change of clothes.
Even more than that, some credit cards will cover you in the event that your luggage is lost or stolen.
This coverage will reimburse you up to a set amount to replace your luggage – allowing you to get on with your vacation and not have to worry about the cost of replacing all of your stuff.
Rental car theft and damage
One of the final types of travel insurance that credit cards can offer you, is rental card theft and damage protection.
This coverage will ensure that you will not be held accountable to cover the costs if your rental car is stolen or damaged.
List of credit cards with travel insurance
With these great insurance features included at no extra cost on a number of credit cards, it’s a bit of a no-brainer to put your travel on a card that will give you peace of mind.
A few cards that offer the best travel insurance packages:
Credit cards offer added security
There’s no question, credit cards offer security that cash doesn’t.
If someone steals your wallet, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re not getting any of your cash back. However, with one call to your credit card company, you can cancel your credit card and not worry about someone going on a shopping spree at your expense.
And even if someone does make some purchases before you notice your credit card is missing, all credit cards offer Fraud Liability protection. Meaning you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made to your card.
Some credit cards even come with an “on/off” switch, which will allow you to temporarily freeze your account with the click of a button in a mobile app.
Otherwise, you’ll need to call your cards customer service to have them freeze the account for you.
Earn travel rewards to experience free international travel
Not only do credit cards come with great features for traveling, but they can also help you get to your dream destination faster than imaged.
By simply making the purchases you normally would, travel credit cards can help you get free flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and so much more.
Best credit card for international travel
If you’re looking for a card that will give you:
- valuable travel rewards,
- 10 types of credit card insurance,
- a welcome bonus worth up to $735,
- 0% foreign transaction fees,
- the ability to temporarily freeze your credit card through your mobile app, and
- 24/7 credit card concierge service,
The rewards earned with this card can be used directly against travel purchases made with your card for the best value – 2,500 points = $25 in travel statement credits.
Plus, every time you redeem, you’ll get 5% back in rewards.
As a Mastercard, you won’t need to worry as much about acceptance when you’re traveling to international destinations.
To add to your peace of mind, the annual fee for this card is waived for the first year, allowing you to see if it’s right for you and your spending before committing to the $89 annual fee.
Get all the card details here:
Best credit card for international airlines
Although it has a higher annual fee of $250, the
As a premium card, you’ll be given many great features:
- your first year free
- hotel credits,
- $100 in airline statement credits,
- 6 different types of credit card insurance,
- 0% foreign transaction fees, and
- flexible reward points that can be used in a number of different ways.
It’s the flexibility of these points that made us want to mention this card here.
Any American Express Membership Rewards points earned can be transfered to a number of different partners – 18 airline programs and 3 hotel chains to be exact – which is especially handy if you’re looking to book flights on international airlines.
Not all transfers are going to give you the same value, so you’ll want to do your research, but if you’re looking for a card to get you anywhere in the world, this could be the one.
Get all the details here:
Best hotel rewards credit card
Or maybe your travel arrangements are in order, but you’re looking for a card to help with your hotel accommodations.
If so, the
With it you’ll earn:
- 7 points for every $1 spent at a Hilton hotel or resort property,
- 5 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets, and
- 3 points for every other $1 spent.
These points can then be used at Hilton locations worldwide for everything from free nights to shopping and dining, from transportation to first class experiences.
You’ll also enjoy Hilton perks and benefits, no foreign transaction fees, and a solid insurance package.
And unlike any of the other cards on our list, this one has no annual fee…ever.
Get all the details here:
Find the best credit card for YOUR international travel
There are a number of credit cards on the market that will have you exploring the world in no time.
So, it’s important to find the travel credit card that is right for you.
Do your research.
Compare credit card reward programs and perks.
Find a card that gives you everything you need and more.
Whether you’re a travel veteran or someone who has just recently caught the travel bug, there’s a credit card out there that could help you achieve your travel dreams.
And with one of these cards in your wallet, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is where you want to go first.
We’d love to hear from you
Do you have a go-to international travel credit card?
What places in the world have you been able to see with your credit card rewards?
Let us know in the comments below.