A friend recounted a story of a honeymoon in Mauritius getting spoiled because the husband inadvertently left a lot of currency at a shop. Sure enough, the currency notes were not found when they went back to the shop after a few hours.
Not really. Think about the total amount of money needed for a foreign trip for 7 / 10 days – for food, transport, tours, activities – and the risk of carrying it all in currency notes. What if I told you that there is a safe and convenient way to carry money required for your international trips.
Safe, Convenient and Transparent: It doesn’t get better than this
I have been using the Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card for 3 years now. I purchased and loaded this card with euros for my trip to Italy in 2015 and used it everywhere – to pay at restaurants, to pay for tours and excursions and to shop. At times, I needed euro notes and I withdrew them from an ATM in whichever city I was, using my Forex card.
I loaded US dollars on the same card for the family trip to Vietnam last year. For the Vietnam trip, I withdrew US dollars several times during my trip using an ATM.
I had again, loaded euros on the card this year, before the trip to Croatia and Slovenia this summer. Once I returned from Croatia, I didn’t get the balance encashed. We were making another trip to Europe – Amsterdam, and Berlin this time – in October and the balance left on the card was used there.
Safer than cash, more convenient than travelers’ cheques, and with locked-in exchange rates and no cross-currency charges (in case the payment is in the same foreign currency as loaded on the card), cheaper than credit or debit cards most of the times, the Forex Travel Card is your best international travel companion.
Do read – Berlin attraction with kids: A Travel Guide for Families
Why do I use the Axis Bank Forex Card?
I have used the Axis Bank Forex Card for several of my family trips. The card is valid for 5 years, and reusable for multiple trips to different destinations.
Here are some of the reasons why I think you should use this card for your international trips –
You can load up to 16 currencies on this single card. You don’t need to carry multiple cards to different destinations.
The Axis Bank Forex Card is accepted at all outlets around the world that display the Visa & Mastercard signage. Your card can be used overseas in department stores, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, airlines, petrol pumps. It can also be used for paying customs duty, at duty-free shops across international airports in India and even when you travel from one place to another.
Locked-in exchange rate
The exchange rate applied is of the day when you load the card with foreign currency. That way, your exchange rate gets locked and known to you. You don’t pay cross-currency charges when you make the payment in the foreign country (in case the payment is in the same foreign currency as loaded on the card).
The card can be used to withdraw cash in the local currency of the country you are visiting from a local ATM.
Reload the card
In case you have exhausted the funds on the card, you can reload your card with more money. The easiest way to do this is through Internet Banking or the Mobile app in case you have an Axis Bank savings account. You can also contact the Axis Bank Branch where you bought it from.
In case you lose or damage the card, you can contact the bank and get the card blocked, even get emergency cash delivery (at a fee).
I could track my balance and usage on the card easily; the bank would send me alerts on the mobile number and email registered at the time of the purchase of the card.
Get the funds encashed on your return
You can get the balance amount left on the card encashed and transferred to your bank account on your return. And if the balance is less than USD 2000, you can let the amount stay on the card (this is useful if you are a frequent international traveler).
More information on Fees and charges of Axis Bank Forex Card.
More information on Documentation to purchase and load the Card.
How much funds to load on your Forex card
My flights and accommodation are mostly pre-booked or paid using the credit card after my stay. I make an estimate of daily funds required for eating out, activities and tours to be taken, transport and overall shopping during the trip. Since the Forex card is reusable, I tend to add up 20% more to this estimate and load up that amount on the card.
My recommendation would be to carry some currency with you – roughly 10% of the total estimate if you are headed to Europe, US, large cities in Asia (like Singapore, Hong Kong) or Australia.
You could carry a bit more, say 20% in currency notes to other parts of the world. However, when I travel occasionally to remote places – Namibia in Africa for instance – I do carry as much as 40% of the trip cost (excluding flight and hotels) in cash.
I load up the rest on the Forex Card – it offers safety, convenience is widely accepted and is a great international companion for me.
Do read – 2 weeks in Vietnam: Itinerary covering highlights at a relaxed pace
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How do you prefer to carry foreign currency on your international trips? Share in the comments below.
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