How can you best manage your money while you’re away. It’s not as easy as you think.
Here’s a list of the best financial management tools. I use them because they’re the best and they work.
Best Bank: Charles Schwab. 100% free. A great bank. It’s internet-only but you get what travelers need most: no foreign transaction fees and refunds of 100% of any ATM fees, including those pesky $5 ones from Thailand. Easy to transfer money around. Mobile app can deposit checks too. Most USA banks charge big ATM fees and then a international exchange rate commission on top. I payed $10 every time I took money out from a Vietnam ATM with my Wells Fargo account years ago ($3 Cirrus fee, $5 foreign fee, and 3% commission on the $125 max ATM transaction amount).
Best Credit Cards: Capital One Rewards Card. No exchange rate fees on international transactions. No annual fee. Good rewards program (I recommend the cash back). Has a sign-up cash bonus. Honorable mention: Chase Sapphire. Actually a better card than the Capital One, but has an annual fee starting in the second year. Great sign-up bonus, free first year annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and the points transfer to a bunch of airlines including Southwest and United.
Best financial tracking website: Mint.com. Add all your accounts. See your balances. Sends notices when your credit card payments are due. It’s great. It’s free. It’s hard to believe we lived without it. Good mobile app.
Travelhacking: Free flights anywhere in the world
Did you know you can get free flights just by signing up for credit cards? I’ve racked up over 500,000 miles in the past two years doing nothing but signing up for cards! That’s right! You can do it too.
The Sapphire card I showed above comes with a 40,000 bonus.
You can also click on the link above (“Fly Anywhere Free”) (like many links on this site I get a commission) for some great offers. I highly recommend the Citibank AA advantage that gives you 30,000 miles after spending $1000. Just make sure to use it right away to get the minimum spend. AA has an amazing Around the World award trip for only 70,000 miles so you’re halfway there.