Whether you’re traveling to a foreign country for business or pleasure — there are at least six steps you should take.

You need to do more than just making sure that your passport is current, planning your itinerary or deciding what to pack.

“Banks and credit card companies constantly monitor customer card activity looking for anything out of the ordinary,” said Steve Johnson, BMO Harris Bank Arizona president. “Contacting the card issuer prior to leaving for a trip will help them know to expect to see activity different from your normal spending pattern.”

For example, you won’t enjoy the hassle that results if legitimate charges are unexpectedly denied by your credit-card company.

Mr. Johnson’s bank offers these tips:

1. Contact your bank and credit card company before leaving so they know to expect purchases from a foreign country.

Let them know when and where you are travelling. Provide them the dates you will be gone, and where you are going.

The bank and credit-card company will make a note in your file. That way, they won’t be surprised when they see charges from a foreign country begin to hit your account.

2. Be careful in making online arrangements.

When providing your card information online for hotel and sightseeing reservations, only use reputable, secure booking sites.

3. Segregate your important numbers.

Keep documentation of your card numbers and your banks’ customer service phone number separate from your actual card. You may need this information if your card is lost or if you have other difficulties using your card.

You need to do more than just making sure that your passport is current, planning your itinerary or deciding what to pack.

4. Have a plan B with your credit card.

Carry a backup card – you never know if your primary card will get lost, stolen, damaged, etc.

5. Research the country you are visiting and plan accordingly.

While in the U.S. card acceptance is widespread, some countries remain very reliant on cash so have a plan for how your will obtain cash if needed. Generally ATMs offer more favorable exchange rate as compared to traditional currency exchange locations.

6. Understand your card’s fee structure.

Most cards charge some type of foreign transaction fee or currency conversion fee. In addition, using a debit card at the ATM instead of a credit card will generally help you avoid credit card cash advance fees as well as higher cash advance interest rates.

On second thought, many of the tips are applicable for domestic travel.

BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization.

From the Coach’s Corner, also see these four valuable travel-related articles:

11 Travel Tips – Save Money, Prevent against Cyber Theft, Fraud — The most vulnerable travelers are businesspeople. That’s because they have to use Internet and e-mail. They’re in danger expressly from vulnerabilities, such as from wirelessly accessible passports to using WIFI.

8 Strategies for Business Tax Deductions on Your Vacation — Did you ever notice professional organizations hold their conventions at favorite tourist destinations? Why? It’s possible to deduct some of those travel costs as business expenses. If you’re careful, you can write off some expenses on your vacation. That’s not to say you can turn your vacation into a tax deduction.

Take Your Business Globally with These 12 Tips — If you want to export your products to the international marketplace, keep in mind and implement 12 steps. They include: 1. Begin on a small scale in an English-speaking country. Unless you speak other languages fluently, begin in a nation where English is spoken.

Expanding Globally? Why Singapore Might Be A Good Bet — Singapore continues as a bastion of success as 43 percent of companies doing business there forecast continued growth financially and strategically until at least 2017, according to a Telstra Global Report in 2014.

“Just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.”

-Henny Youngman


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.