Traveling abroad is expensive, and a lot of the fees are hidden within other fees within still other fees. The feeest travel components, by far, are phones and credit cards. That said, there are deals to be had and ways to lessen the impact of these small fees — that can have a big impact over time. 

When researching phone fees for this article, my goal was to find out exactly what would happen to someone who just ended up in Europe without any preparation. Unfortunately, T-Mobile was the only one of the big three phone companies that had this information available. 

If you went to Europe today, without any preparation, T-Mobile would provide this for free:

  • Unlimited slow data
  • Unlimited texting
  • Calling at $0.25/min

As for credit or debit cards, the culprits are called “foreign transaction fees.” These fees apply not just when we’re in a foreign country, but also when we buy things from a foreign country. You may have already paid a foreign transaction fee when you purchase things from eBay sellers.

The fees are always listed as 1-3%, you can count on them being 3%. That fee is split between the card issuer and the payment network. If you’re withdrawing money, these fees are always in addition to any ATM fees and currency exchange fees charged at the machine.

Information seems to be much easier to ferret out of credit card companies than phone companies. I suppose that’s not a surprise considering the process of signing up for a phone plan. 

Mastercard has compiled a list of no-fee cards and the website is easy to understand.

There’s always the option of cash, and with strategic stashing, you can try to minimize the damage those suits do to your vacation. Money belts exist, as do a plethora of other security products for cash.

JHA is your one-stop vacation planner — from planning the fun stuff to planning the serious stuff. Contact us to learn how we can help!