Is an offshore trip on the cards? If yes, then money matters should be your priority. You need a safe, secure and convenient way to carry money abroad. An International travel card fits the bill. It holds up well against any conventional means – credit card, hard cash or traveler’s check.
Every time you swipe your credit card, hefty service charges apply. That’ll inflate your travel budget significantly. Carrying stacks of cash to an unfamiliar place is a safety hazard. For traveler’s checks, they are not accepted everywhere and incur a high encashment fee.
Conversely, Forex travel cards are widely acceptable, convenient to use, carry multiple currencies and do not attract service charges. Being PIN protected, they cater to your safety concerns as well. They are easily replaceable, should you lose them anytime during the trip.
However, all travel cards are not equal. Most are just fine while some standout. Here’s your rundown on how to choose the best travel card in India, minus any fuss.
Start Searching Early:
A travel card is a prepaid arrangement. Here, exchange rates are locked at the date of purchase. Note that, exchange rates are an unstable commodity, fluctuating by the minute. That means how much you save or lose, depends on the day of purchase of the international travel card.
Don’t let chance decide things for you. Start looking for exchange rates at least a month before the travel date. This way, you can wait for the exchange rates to fall. The Reserve Bank of India allows travel card purchases 180 days before the date of travel.
Evaluate your needs:
Calculating the approximate total money you need to carry with you is recommended for informed decisions. That’ll help you figure out the amount you’ll be loading in your best travel card. However, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, opt for a 35/65 approach.
Keep 35 percent of the total money in cash. You’ll need it to meet minor expenses like taxi, fast foods and more, in the destination country. The rest 65 percent should go into the travel card.
Choose the currency:
The currency you load in your best travel card in India depends on the destination country. Prefer the local currency when traveling to the first world countries. For the rest, opt for USD to enjoy the better end of the deal. The option to load multiple currencies on your travel card is always there. But it should be explored when you have various destinations on your bucket list.
Opt for a licensed Forex dealer:
There’s no shortage of shady dealers, ready to rob you blind. So, it makes sense to be cautious when choosing the Forex dealer. RBI should authorize the dealer and carry the Category II License. It should offer competitive rates, 24-hour helpline, and receipts for each transaction.
Inquire the dealer about any daily limit applicable on the usage. That’s crucial because a limit will cramp you for expenses. Also, ask whether the card replacement involves extra cost. Get to know the card activation and PIN regeneration procedure to ward off surprises.