You’ve decided to go on an extended travel journey. Great! You’ll have wonderful adventures and memories to last a lifetime. As you’re planning your big adventure, you’ll soon realize that there are lots of everyday tasks and issues which will require different ways to handle them. A big one of which I’m often questioned is how to deal with postal mail and bills. After all, life at home doesn’t simply stop while you’re away. Here are some suggestions based on how we prepared for our trip. For the younger generation, most of these will seem obvious, but for many older folks who didn’t grow up with the internet and smart phones, switching from old manual methods isn’t always easy or intuitive. Be sure to set all this up well in advance of your trip to give it a couple of billing cycles to work out the kinks. Continue reading
I just received our new chipped credit cards from Chase today. They aren’t chip and pin. Here’s what their Q&A page on their web site says (colored emphasis added by me):
Q. Where can I use my chip-enabled credit card globally?
A. Having a chip-enabled card allows you to use your card when traveling internationally because chip card readers are already standard in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia. We also recommend that you carry an alternate method of payment, such as local currency, in case you encounter an unattended kiosk that requires a PIN.
Q. Can my cash advance PIN be used to make purchases?
A. No. Your cash advance PIN can only be used at the ATM.
Q. What if my chip-enabled credit card isn’t working at an unattended kiosk while abroad?
A. If the kiosk is asking you for a PIN, you may be able to select one of the following to bypass the PIN prompt: “Cancel,” “Enter” or “Continue.” If the card reader still will not accept your card without a PIN code, there may be staff in the area to assist you with using your magnetic stripe. Otherwise, local currency may be needed in this situation.
Last year, Sheri and I went on vacation in the U.K. and France. Our previous trip to Europe together was back in 2010 to Italy and our credit cards worked fine. However, we had our share of difficulties back then with our ATM card, but that didn’t prepare me for the frustration I had in London and France last year.
We stayed with friends on the outskirts of London and took the commuter train into London one morning. After getting off the commuter train, we planned to take the underground to our tourist sites, but quickly found that our credit card didn’t work in the automated machines. There should have been someone there to help us, but nobody was around. So we went back up to the street and walked around until we found a place to exchange some U.S. dollars to British pounds sterling. Back underground, we finally got our subway tickets and were on our way. We were inconvenienced, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what happened in France.