How To Avoid Hidden Travel Fees

How To Avoid Hidden Travel Fees
By Crazymyworld
Added on Mar 27, 2023

You're asking yourself why are card fees important and why should you fix them.

Folks, there's something I learned a long time ago called Hidden travel fees, which can be more lethal than upfront ones.

You're asking yourself. "Why should I waste my time on this topic" Reason is that hidden fees are usually overlooked compared to the easily seen charges. ​

What can you do about it (a lot actually) never sit there and take it.

If you want to learn how to avoid hidden travel fees, I'm here to show you how to get rid of those pesky fees and detect them.​

If you're too stressed to notice, then you need to Control Your Travel Fears and be mentally prepared. Now on to the reason, you're here.

Foreign Transaction Fees

I know you heard about them a million times. That is why I am going to do this one first.

Foreign transaction fees are fees charged to your card every time you purchase something abroad.

With a debit and a credit card. Not every card charges this fee, but if you have one, that does.

Know how much they charge each transaction.

Most cards that charge the fee charge between 1-3%. Also, remember that this gets added to the exchange rate fee you pay.

You can't avoid this fee, it's usually small but if you make a big purchase with the exchange rate plus the foreign transaction fee Yikes.

Again, remember it's every purchase abroad with that fee-based card. So be mindful of this.

My How To Avoid Hidden Travel Fees brown wallet with Debit card
My brown travel wallet with a Debit card and money

Debit Cards Lack Protection

The reason I put this one on its own. Is Debit cards used abroad have much more financial consequences?

Here's an example of how a credit card gets stolen and what happens after.

You call up your credit card company and they usually refund your money back after a few questions. In some cases, you may need to prove it wasn't you.

The plus side is you can lock your card from the app until you get a new card, usually free or for a $25 fee.

It all depends on your card provider.
Now let's say you do this with a debit card, the effort will be hell on earth to resolve.

Why because debit cards don't have the same protections by law that credit cards do. Meaning banks don't have to pull all the stops for you.

Over the years banks have added more safeguards. Yet with money lost because of a swipe at a store.

You're going to have to show proof that you didn't purchase it.​

Let's face it, you're on a trip who wants to deal with that, and how would you prove it wasn't you anyway.​

Stick with credit cards and pay the amount used when you get back home.

Also, use credit cards when booking Flights.

As you get points and travel protections when you book with it.

Just pay the card off with the cash money you were going to use in the first place.

ATM Fees

ATM fees are my arch-nemesis, this one I dislike the most because it's the costliest of all fees charged by banks.​

When I backpacked through South America for a month and 19 days. I had to pay every ATM 6 to $8 per withdrawal.

These ATM fees happen in every country, so I brought my Advancial debit card and got refunded of it.

I thought to myself, what about the people who don't know about this? Think about this for a moment.

You're on a week's vacation somewhere that doesn't accept debit or credit cards. So you need cash and where do you get it, at an ATM?

ATM fees abroad are higher than in the United States, almost double.

Plus, you pay your bank the fee, so the ATM owner profits, and the bank profits.

You are down 7 to $8 just for using an ATM once. I know what you're thinking I should take all the money at once and save myself the fees.

Bad idea because yes you save on fees.

Yet you risk losing all your money by theft or losing it. Take out what you believe you're going to need that day.

If by some chance you won't be around an ATM. Take money out for a few days but leave the rest locked up at your hotel.​

Then take the days' worth with you when you're out, the last thing you need is to be a walking bank.

Avoid Greedy Banks

This might shock you, but not all banks are Greedy. Avoid the banks that charge you high overdraft fees.

Think about all the fees banks charge ATM fees, inactivity fees, Foreign transaction fees the list goes on.

These are modern times, and many banks are digital. That means they don't need physical banks, which lessens the cost.

That's why you hear all these startups offering no-fee checking accounts. Disrupting big banks.

That's your cue to jump at these services.
Look for ones geared for travel, with features like ATM reimbursement, No foreign transaction fees.​

These are the most important features you need when traveling. For example, I get refunded for all ATM fees around the world.​

That means I can use any ATM near me, I need not care how much an ATM charges because I get it back.​

When you're traveling you want it smooth, you don't want to look for an ATM that's cheap or free but could be 2 miles away wasting your valuable time.

My black leather wallet with money and a quicksilver Capital One card
My main black leather wallet with my Capital One credit card

Lower Your Interest Rate Charge

This is a technique I accidentally came up with. It has multiple steps, First if you're going to travel and you want or need your credit card.​

Take with you the lowest interest rate card with you.

The next 2 months before your trip, call your credit card company and ask if you can lower your interest rate.

Most times they will give you an interest rate cut or a temporary one for a few months.

You're asking why two months before you're trip because it takes your company 2 billing cycles to implement the change some are shorter always ask.

If you want to stay on the safe side for two months. I mentioned this earlier but pay off your balance with your vacation money.

For example, if you go to a restaurant and eat dinner with family and friends it cost you $40.​

The trick is to use your credit card when you're at your hotel and pay the $40 from your bank to the credit card used.​

Remember credit cards have more protections in place in case of a hack. Plus, you get free points or cashback that can be used for a minimum payment or saved for a free flight.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Never let your guard down with traveling fees. Businesses take advantage that you're in vacation mode to make money off you when you're distracted.

Don't be fooled to understand the game, I will give you an example from when I was in Chile.

The ATM at the airport was $7.65 per withdrawal.

I mentioned I got my fees reimbursed, so I didn't care.

Yet here is the kicker. Those $7.65 were enough for me to eat at two restaurants. Yes, folks, the meals were around $3.40 each.​

You do the math if I withdraw three or four times I can eat for a week on ATM savings alone. Stay sharp, and question everything.


If you take anything from this blog post. Then take this, you can always reduce your travel costs.

It's just most times it starts before you leave your home.

Even the cheapest of places can get expensive if you're not careful.

I have had friends ask me what are the cheapest countries to go to just to make it affordable.

I say you have to nibble at the cost from all sides. If you have done all that I have laid out here for you. Then I recommend a cheap country.

For example, Argentina is a good one, you're asking yourself is Argentina a good travel spot. My answer is yes especially if you have dollars and euros.

There are others like Chile, Peru, and Indonesia to name a few.

This would be a good way to get your feet wet.

To see what kind of budget you will end up with to build yourself up.

Author: Edwin Reyes

Edwin Reyes is an author and founder of with a wealth of global experience. Read about his adventures traveling the world and get inspired to explore your own new horizons.