In 2011, 58.5 million Americans traveled overseas, according to the International Trade Administration. That's a 3 percent increase from the year before, signaling that our wanderlust and our love of travel bargains has inspired us to start globetrotting again. To help you get ready for your next adventure outside the United States, we compiled a list of the best credit cards for traveling abroad:
Best credit cards for traveling to Europe
Despite credit card issuers' insistence that magnetic stripe cards work anywhere, many American travelers find themselves turned away by European retailers worried about fraud. Therefore, you'll need a "chip-and-PIN" credit card that works at merchants who don't yet have newer, contactless payment terminals. Two of the best credit cards for European visits offer great perks beyond enhanced security:
Remember to select your PIN before you leave the States, or you'll be stuck fishing for cash when you reach your destination.
Best credit cards for traveling to Central and South America
Frequent travelers to Buenos Aires and other popular South American destinations suggest that the black market for U.S. dollars will often get you a better exchange rate than even the best credit cards. However, I think it's worth a little more to stay secure in unfamiliar territory. Besides, black-market cashiers don't offer frequent flier miles.
Visa Signature cards, regardless of issuer, offer plenty of bonus benefits for world travelers. If you lose your card, Visa Signature's Global Customer Care Services associates can deliver an emergency cash advance to a secure location in as little as a few hours. Pay for all your travel expenses with Visa Signature, and you'll also get complimentary travel insurance and emergency assistance services.
Best credit cards for traveling to Africa, Asia, and elsewhere
Traveling to Africa or Asia can challenge even the experienced road warrior. On both continents, you'll need a credit card that can help you get cash in urban areas that you'll want when you leave the beaten path. Flying there from the States means extra-long flights, so the right cards will give you opportunities to earn plenty of extra miles or rewards points.
Recent visitors to major cities in both Africa and Asia report getting lots of requests from local merchants to purchase their transactions in U.S. dollars. While sophisticated point of sale terminals can convert currency in real time, they use rates much more expensive than the best credit card issuers' rates. Plus, even when buying local goods and services in dollars, your credit card may still charge a foreign transaction fee.
Bon voyage, wherever your world travels take you!
Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, CardRatings.com cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.
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