If you’re heading overseas for your summer vacation, traveling with a credit card isn’t just convenient, it’s recommended for your safety. If you know what to look out for, you’ll get more mileage for your money and be spending in the safest way possible. Read on for what you need to know when using your credit card abroad this summer.

Jetting off? Let your bank know.

Credit card providers are always on the lookout for unusual transactions to guard against unauthorized spending. If your bank isn’t aware you’ve headed overseas for the summer,  it may be assumed your card has been stolen and is being used without your knowledge. To avoid having your card blocked while you’re backpacking in Bangkok or sunbathing in the Maldives, advise the bank of your travel plans in advance.

Cash, credit cards, and conversion rates.

When you tap your credit card at a point of sale overseas, the merchant is likely to ask if you’d like to pay in the local currency or your home currency. In most cases, you can save money by opting for the currency of the country you’re visiting, as choosing your home currency is likely to incur a conversion fee of approximately 3%.

Check your charges.

Plastic is fantastic when you’re on the go, however, it’s likely you’ll come across situations where you need some cash. When picking up a souvenir in a remote location or tipping a helpful local, cash might be your only option. Before you leave home, check the charges (if any) that might be incurred when you withdraw cash from a foreign ATM using your credit card.

Know your security options.

The majority of banks in the UAE empower their customers to block and unblock their credit cards immediately if they think any suspicious activity is occurring. Before you travel, familiarise yourself with the procedure of blocking your credit card online, via your bank’s app and website. It’s also a good idea to record your bank’s international telephone number for emergencies such as credit card theft. Write the number down and keep it in a safe location, separate from your credit card, to save valuable time.

Carry your passport or an official ID.

Depending on where you’re traveling, merchants may require proof of identification before accepting a credit card, particularly if yours is one without chip-and-PIN technology. It’s common practice in many places, particularly for big-ticket items or hotel and airline bookings, so don’t be surprised. This measure protects both you and the merchant against fraud.

Stolen or misplaced credit cards? You’re covered.

Using a credit card to manage your money while abroad is a lot less stressful than carrying wads of cash around with you. Cash comes with unnecessary risk – if it’s stolen or lost, it’s almost impossible to recover. A credit card, on the other hand, can be immediately blocked and replaced quickly, and it’s highly likely unauthorized expenses will be reimbursed.

Know your numbers.

In case you misplace your credit card or don’t have it within reach and need a backup, it’s a good idea to have the credit card number from the front and CVV from the back of the card written down or recorded on your smartphone. Keep these separate from the original card, so both don’t go missing at once.