Passport. Airline ticket. Foreign currency. Traveler’s checks. You have everything covered, right? But what if you run out of foreign currency? Or your kid gets sick and needs a doctor? Or you need to pay for damage to your rental car? Or you get robbed? Or the bed-and-breakfast you have your heart set on doesn’t take credit cards? How can you replenish your travel funds while traveling overseas?
Preparation Is Key
If you are “temporarily destitute due to unforeseen circumstances,” the U.S. government advises that you contact the nearest embassy or consulate. Or you can contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services through the Department of State. Consular officers can help you contact family, banks, or an employer to arrange for funds to be sent to you.
In addition, the federal government recommends that travelers take steps to prepare before an overseas trip. Travelers should sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State. STEP allows travelers to input travel information so that, in the event of an emergency, travelers can be assisted by the State Department. Those living abroad can join STEP to get updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Many doctors or hospitals located overseas require payment in cash at the time of service, so travelers should ensure that they have adequate health insurance.
ATMs, Credit Cards, and Debit Cards
Strapped for cash? Consumer Reports recommends that you get cash from a bank ATM near where you are staying. Using an ATM is a secure way to get a decent currency exchange rate. Also, alert your bank that you will be traveling, so that your account is not flagged for unusual activity on your credit or debit card.
If you use an ATM overseas, you will be charged a “foreign transaction fee” per Fodor’s Travel Intelligence site. Fodor’s recommends not using your credit card for a cash advance, except in emergencies, due to the high fees and rates, and only using a debit card for cash withdrawals and not purchases.
Transferring Funds Overseas
When circumstances arise where you need money, family and friends may be able to help you. USA Today’s Travel recommends transferring money to overseas travelers through a PayPal® transfer or Western Union® money transfer. Bear in mind that fees or service charges may apply, and that funds may not be available the next business day.
The U.S. government will allow you to open a secure account so that family and friends can transfer money at a cost of $30. Once you know that you have run out of cash on your travels, you will want to contact family members in the U.S. to arrange a transfer of funds. Once the money is available in the account, U.S. citizens may visit the embassy to get the money. The money is transferred to the account through Western Union® or via mail. Requests are processed during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you can’t get access to loans. For example, Mobiloans is a flexible line of credit designed for people on the go. You can use a Mobiloan to handle a cash emergency when you’re caught without money overseas. Mobiloans have flexible payment options and no hidden fees.
To obtain a Mobiloan, U.S. citizens need a social security number and a U.S. bank account. Once you apply online at Mobiloans.com, you will be notified immediately how much cash you can get. In most cases, cash will be available in your bank account the next business day. In the coming months, Mobiloans will be offering an app for iPhone and Android™ phones to make the process even more convenient.
When traveling overseas, plan ahead. Carry plenty of foreign currency or traveler’s checks. Check on overseas bank fees for ATMs and other transactions. In addition, alert your bank of your travel plans so that your debit and credit card charges are not flagged as inappropriate.*The company, product and service names used in this article are for identification purposes only. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.