Travelling for Business or Pleasure

Financial Tips for Travellers

By —— Bio and Archives--June 28, 2009

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Travel is calling your name – how can you make sure you’re not cut short financially?


“Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure - plan your money needs ahead of time,” says Chartered Accountant Michael Lauber, FCA, a Toronto consultant and former Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments.

“Determine how much money you will need and how you will carry it. Depending on the country you’re travelling in, you have different options – debit card, credit card, travellers’ cheques and cash. Some cards may not be accepted or may not function in your location.”

Lauber offers these financial travel tips:

Will that be cash or debit?

  • Travel with enough local currency to meet your immediate needs on arrival, including taxis or buses, tips and some meals.
  • Order currency ahead of time. Approximately 40 different currencies are available for delivery to your financial institution within a few days.
  • Debit cards make cash convenient to access at ATMs, which are found in most countries and at major airports.
  • Minimize the fees involved with debit-card withdrawals by taking out enough cash to cover your expenses.
  • Use traveller’s cheques as emergency backups.
  • Consider using Internet banking – it will facilitate accessing/ transferring money in the event of an unexpected expense, but talk to an identity theft expert first to get their opinion on its security.
  • Pay with a credit card.

Take security precautions

  • At ATMs (consider using only those recognized by financial institutions if possible), take the same precautions you would at home: be aware of your surroundings, and cover the keypad when conducting transactions.
  • Use your debit card at bona fide establishments only.
  • Protect cash and backup credit cards in the hotel safe.
  • For extra security, use a money belt.

Be credit card savvy

  • Notify your financial institution and credit card company of your travel plans and dates. Security systems look for unusual patterns of expenses, especially for infrequent travellers. If picked up, the result could be a frozen bank account due to “suspicious activity” and financial issues could occur during your travels. 
  • Carry two credit cards to avoid problems should one card be lost, damaged or cancelled for security purposes.
  • Spread the risk around – give your second backup card to your travel partner.
  • A credit card provides a trail of expenses, may accumulate points, and offers car-insurance benefits. Review your card’s provision regarding car insurance to ensure you are properly covered. 

Beware of currency conversions

  • Consider applying for a U.S. credit card if you are travelling to the U.S. extensively as it may save you conversion rates in the long term.
  • Snowbirds – consider using a credit card in U.S. dollars.
  • Use traveller’s cheques specific to the region you are visiting – cheques are available in several different currencies.
  • Don’t put too much of your Canadian money into foreign currency cash or travellers cheques as you will pay for the conversion rate twice – once before the trip and the second time, when you cash them in at home. 

Finally, Lauber offers this most important piece of advice - enjoy your trip!


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Inst. of Chartered Accountants -- Bio and Archives | Comments

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario is the qualifying and regulatory body of Ontario’s 33,000 Chartered Accountants and 5,000 CA students. Since 1879, the Institute has protected the public interest through the CA profession’s high standards of qualification and the enforcement of its rules of professional conduct. The Institute works in partnership with the other provincial Institutes of Chartered Accountants and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to provide national standards and programs that are used as examples around the world. </em>

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