4 travel tips for National Passport Awareness Month

September is National Passport Awareness Month and a large number of Americans will soon be taking to airplanes, trains, boats and cars for dream fall and winter international getaways.

Brian Formisano

Brian Formisano

Getting ready for a global adventure can be both exciting and stressful at the same time.

In order to help provide peace of mind, here are some financial tips for travelers on how to prepare for international travel.

Budget for foreign entry visas

More and more countries are starting to require United States citizens to pay for visas before entering the country. The days of a simple passport stamp for Americans are on their way out.

In 2024, the 27 members of the Schengen Area, which include European Union countries, will require United States citizens to complete the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) process and pay a small visa entry fee. More information is available online here.

Other countries, such as Brazil, are going to be requiring entry visas again for United States citizens as early as October 1, 2023. These can take time to obtain and add hundreds of dollars to your trip budget.

You can get individual country visa information and costs at the Department of State travel portal.

Have some foreign currency

It is always a good idea to have some foreign currency of the countries you plan to visit on your vacation before you leave. Your local bank branch or customer service phone banker can assist with this.

Upon arriving in the airport, port or some other foreign destination, visitors can have added peace of mind knowing that they have some small bills in the local currency to use for routine items.

Notify your bank

Many banks are moving away from travelers having to notify them of travel plans and relying on technology and algorithms instead.

Nonetheless, it’s better to ask your branch or call the number on the back of your card to make sure they are aware of your travel plans in advance. It is better to contact them and not need to put in a travel alert instead of being declined when trying to purchase something in a foreign country.

Beware of foreign currency conversion fees

When traveling internationally, it’s smart to use a credit card with no foreign currency conversion fees. These fees can add three percent or more to the amount of every credit card charge when vacationing abroad.

If you don’t know if your credit card has a foreign currency conversion fee, call the customer service phone number located on the back of your card.

These four handy tips can help travelers prepare financially for an international adventure of a lifetime.

Brian Formisano is the Wells Fargo Nevada region executive.

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