The right card will treat you like a rock star, be a crime fighting ninja, and save you a bundle.
The right credit card can make all the difference in the world by bringing your travel dreams to life. It’s a critical tool for making safe purchases overseas, and it can transform those purchases into amazing rewards, enriching your trip and inspiring the next one. In many ways, it’s like a second passport, opening doors and helping you leap over borders.
But a lot of people don’t know that the right card can also help you party like a rock star, kick pickpockets to the curb, and protect your new camera too - all while saving you a pretty penny. Here's how to take your travels to the next level.
Get treated like a rock star.
Have you ever dreamed of having someone at your beck and call to give you an insider’s access to a city’s best secrets? You don’t have to be a rock star - or spend like one - to make it happen. Concierge team can provide dinner recommendations and make the reservations. They can help you find guides and local services and arrange for special experiences. And, if you really are feeling your rock star-ish best, they can help you with the once in a lifetime dream experiences, like booking a hot air balloon ride or getting amazing concert tickets.
Remember, your concierge is there to help YOU. There’s no budget too small (or, I assume, too big!) and in fact they might actually be able to help you save money by steering you clear of ‘tourist traps’ or suggesting discounts you didn’t know you were eligible for (like student or senior savings).
Give your gear a little extra TLC.
If you’re investing in a new camera to record your travel memories, or maybe an e-reader for relaxing by the pool, or a lightweight computer so you can embrace the nomadic lifestyle, make your purchase on your credit card.
Doing so will double the manufacturer’s warranty for up to two years. That can save you an absolute bundle in the unlikely event that something goes wrong with your gear (This is a lesson I learned the hard way when I suddenly had to replace my travel laptop when it was just over a year old. ) And, in the meantime, you will pocket some extra money as you bypass extended warranty purchases in store, confident that your card has your back.
Put pickpockets in their place.
When a friend or reader reports a purse lifted from a cafe or some gear pilfered in a hostel, it breaks my heart. Happily, it doesn’t happen very often, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting. When you work hard and save diligently to purchase quality products it feels like that gear is an extension of who you are. There’s a lot a traveler can do to protect their belonging, like using secure day bags and luggage. And now there’s one more way to fight back.
Many cards offer “Purchase Assurance” against loss, damage, or theft, anywhere in the world, for 120 days after you make the purchase on your credit card. Covered items will be repaired, replaced, or reimbursed, taking some of sting out of your loss.
Pajamas and perfume.
Alright, I might be exaggerating a bit here. Maybe a better title would be socks and sunscreen! But there is a way your credit card can help you when you need emergency supplies. If you check your luggage and if it doesn’t arrive at the airport, take heart. The overwhelming majority of bags are reunited with their owners in a very short window of time. And in the meantime, you can be reimbursed $100 a day for essential supplies for several days if you purchased your airline ticket through your credit card.
Of course, no one wants to spend their trip shopping for new underwear and body wash, but when you’re tired, frustrated, and your bag is nowhere to be seen, it’s nice to have a plan B and know that you won't be out a lot of money.
Carousing and cost savings.
Now you can have your car and drive it too! When you pay for your rental car with card , you'll often be insured if your rental car is damaged or stolen. Declining the collision damage waiver insurance can save you $20 to $30 a day! Many credit cards offer different forms of travel and medical insurance but I especially appreciate the extra protection for a rental car.
Paying for extra car insurance is one of those necessary but annoying little expenses that can quickly add up to a big expense over a trip yet I never felt comfortable declining it. I always envisioned some dramatic situation in which the car is ruined (attacked by rhinoceros, alien sinkhole, you know, the usual stuff) and then I am on the hook for a Cadillac. I know, not the most likely of scenarios. But it’s reassuring to know that I’m being responsible and frugal at the same time when it comes to car insurance.
Making every moment count.
I’m all about travel experiences that go the distance and making the most of your limited time and money and I’m keen to embrace any tools that help me do just that.
Knowing all the special features your credit card offers can save you a lot of money but, just as importantly, they can also save you time and frustration and enrich your experiences along the way. And that’s a winner in my books!
We'd love to hear from you! What's your favourite kind of travel splurge?
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