If there’s one thing my father taught me from a very early age, it’s that you should never pay someone for the so-called privilege of spending your own money. It can be pretty hard to stick to that advice when traveling — especially these days.
Case in point: our last trip to Italy. We used a credit card to pay for our hotel (and castle, pictured) rooms, understanding that the card carried an international transaction fee. What we didn’t know (and it was a silly mistake, we realize) was exactly how much we’d end up paying in fees. It wasn’t insignificant, and I was displeased to shell out “free money” to the credit card company (name withheld because we’re just nice like that).
With our next international trip (to Africa) approaching, we decided it was time to seek out another, fee-free option.
I did our homework and found that many, many credit card companies offer cards that do not charge international transaction fees. Great, right? Not so fast.
The vast majority of those cards require an annual fee for the privilege of using them at all — not just internationally. I knew credit card companies were greedy, but we both have credit ratings well into the “excellent” range. I was surprised to see so many companies charging annual fees on these cards (yeah, I may be a little naive).
Finally, I was able to find a card that won’t charge fees for international use (in fact, none of their cards charge an international transaction fee) and doesn’t charge an annual fee (for customers with excellent credit). The Capital One Cash Rewards card will make the trip to Africa with us, so – finally – we won’t be paying fees for spending our own money.
My dad will be so proud!
How do you avoid pesky fees when you travel? Know any good tricks to avoid paying to check a bag (aside from choosing an airline that doesn’t charge)? A great way to get an upgrade for a discount or free? Share it! Sharing is caring!
*No disclaimer needed. Capital One isn’t kicking us a dime, we’re just reporting our honest-to-goodness experience and the results of our search.