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The Ultimate Credit Card Guide to Traveling to Southeast Asia

If you are planning to go to Southeast Asia, bringing travel credit cards is definitely a great idea. Credit cards offer great convenience to travellers; you can use them for almost anything you’ll need on the road, and at the same time, they can give you peace of mind and a sense of security. Carrying cash going from place to place has oftentimes proved to be more trouble than it’s worth if you are in a strange land.

malaysia Along with itinerary, budget, and other important concerns, your overseas travel plans should also include financial management. This ultimate guide on the best travel credit cards discusses some of the ideal options for travellers as well as some simple but important guidelines to ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for your trip.

Before You Go

  • It is an absolute must for you to call your bank to tell them that you are leaving the country. If you are a VISA credit card holder, you will be required to submit a Traveling Out-of-State Form for your own protection.
  • It would also be a good idea to check on the Credit Card Union to get information on daily spending limits, withdrawal restrictions, cash advances, and other relevant information.
  • Write down your card account numbers and keep the information secure but within easy access. You can leave it with a friend or family member whom you can call for the information in case of emergencies.
  • Save your bank’s customer service hotlines on your phone. It will come useful in case you need to report a lost or stolen card.
  • If you are going away for a long time, see if you can set up online access to your credit card. This enables you to transfer payments from other existing savings or checking accounts. At the same time, it is easier to keep up with your credit card bills.

Managing Your Travel Credit Cards on the Go

  • When you use credit cards for travel abroad, remember that you will be charged foreign transaction fees. Rates vary with each credit card, usually from 1% to 3%, and are applied on ALL transactions incurred, regardless of currency.
  • Foreign transaction fees can easily accumulate. Save up on credit card transaction fees by taking a few extra trips to the ATM.
  • ATMs are still the best and easiest way to get cash from your card wherever in the world you may be. Look at the back of your card to see which network you are on (VISA or MasterCard) and simply look for a corresponding ATM in your location. International transaction fees may apply.

Best Travel Credit Cards

VISA credit cards are accepted in more places in Southeast Asia than any other card. If you are a MasterCard carrier, you won’t have much of a problem getting by either, as a lot of banks in Southeast Asia partner with major global financial networks.

Also, note that Southeast Asia is still mostly cash-centered. You can save a lot by resorting to other options like traveler’s cheques, ATM cards, debit cards, and of course, some amount of local currency, on top of your travel credit cards.

Michael Vincent writes for Compare Hero, Malaysia’s leading financial comparison website, allowing you to compare the prices of a broad range of financial products, from credit cards to insurance plans.

5 Tips to Feeling at Home When Traveling Abroad

Does it take a certain skill to feel at home when traveling abroad?

We’ve heard people say home is where the heart is. Thing is, falling for a place – so much so you’re thinking about extending your stay – may take time. The process might even take longer if you keep searching for the familiar.

Homesickness is then inevitable especially for those going overseas the first time. You cannot remain blue throughout though. Your trip is temporary and soon you’ll be going back to ‘real’ life. So live in the moment, and indulge yourself in your new environment.

tourist with local

Here are few tips how you can do so.

Travel on foot. Going to your next stop? If your schedule allows, walk your way instead of riding vehicles. Do your homework about possible routes and tag your travel buddies along for safety purposes. There’s nothing wrong asking locals for directions but do not panic when you feel you’ve lost your way. Surprises come in unexpected packages. You might just experience the best of your trip during this time you’re uncertain where you and your friends are heading to.

Commute with locals. Ditch the cabs and cars for rent, and commute with locals. If you are going to an island destination, take the passenger boat instead of the private ones. If you must hire a vehicle to navigating the town, consider two-wheels instead. If there is no issue with any of your travel buddies, then check out public transportation utilities available in the area. They’re generally cheaper, plus, you get to mingle with locals. People might throw you occasional glances but let it go. You’re the new kid in town, that’s why. Smile back at them.

Go where people eat. Refrain from eating in chain establishments. While the menu may have been altered for a more local appeal, still, nothing beats food served in local eateries. This is even more favorable for budget travelers. If you notice people flock to a food stall or restaurant, chances are items sold there taste great and come cheap. You also would not have to worry about food safety. The fact that patrons gather around is one indication they trust the establishment. Dine in these places. Take out your phrasebook for some help deciphering the menu.

Stop by neighborhoods. Who says tourist attractions are the only places you can check out when traveling? Even non-touristy sites could turn out interesting. Exploring neighborhoods is one way you can witness and experience for yourself, the local culture. If you’ll limit your stops to particular sites recommended to travelers, chances are all you will encounter are foreign travelers like you. That is not what you signed up for.

Visit in time for festivals. Yes, this is considered as among the peak seasons when the price for everything soars. But with adequate planning you can successfully go over trips right at this time, without spending a fortune. Even locals encourage travelers to visit because festivities lend for a perfect timing for socialization. The atmosphere is fun. Food is everywhere. Locals are celebrating their culture. And the more exciting it becomes when you are taking part in activities the place is known for such as “Holi” or the Festival of Colors in India.

Going to a place you’ve never been gives you that sense of confidence and fulfillment. When you get back home, then you can start a conversation with friends or write my essay online about memories you’ve created abroad. You might just appreciate your original home even more, and realize it’s possible that you survive on the other side of the world.

Nettie Gray hasn’t experienced extending trips abroad although she felt the urge to do so many times. Family and work always make her come back home as planned.

Travel Tips for Visiting Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an amazing place to visit and an even better place to live.  I would recommend visiting the city for a long weekend.  But with a long weekend you will be able to go to all the site Hong Kong has to offer.If you want to spend even longer then there is few thing in here that will interest you to see as well. Take out Annul Travel Insurance before heading off and exploring the great city of Hong Kong

Accommodation

  • I recommend finding a hotel on the Island, but if you are looking for a slightly cheaper hotel then look on the Kowloon side of HK.  The price of a room in a hotel is pretty expensive, compared to the rest of the world.
  • Be prepared for hard beds in the hotels, it is just how beds are in Hong Kong. There meant to be good for your back.
Sites
  • Take the train up to the top of the peak or take the bus (a little scary, but great views). The train and buses can be found in the central district.  The view from the peak is stunning if you are lucky with the pollution level. You can get a great view of most of the island from the peak.  It is practically spectacular if you are up at the Peak during sunset, when the skyscrapers turn the lights on.
  • Mongkok Night Market.  Mongkok is on the Kowloon side of HK, there is actually 2 markets in Mongkok that are both good, and are close to different MTR line exits.  If you love shopping then this is the place for you to visit, You can find lots of cheap clothes and electronics in the market, you have to remember to haggle a little bit to lower the price.
  • Kowloon Bay, It is worth going over to the Kowloon side of the bay and looking at the HK Island, they do a light show every night at around 7-8 pm and it is an awesome sight to see.  At the same time you can take a look at the bronze statue of Bruce Lee.
  • Beaches; there is plenty of beaches in HK, some are on the Island and the others are on the Kowloon side and are outside of the city.  The beaches closest to the city, are very nice. The Beaches are around Stanley region of the island and are lovely and easy to get to by bus.  A little bit more difficult to get to are the beaches and islands around Tia Po.What you are probably thinking at the moment is, isn’t the water really dirty and polluted, and the answer is yes.  But it’s not as bad as you imagine and if you are over there in the summer months then you will be happy to get into the water.  The water is very salty and warm so it is easy to float.  When I lived there I went into the water dozens of times and I didn’t get any negative effects.
  • The Tian Tan Buddha or the big Buddha is located on the Lantau Island, what is also where the airport is.  The Buddha is made from brass and it was made in 1993.  It is one of HK must attractions and is very much worth a visit.
  • Hiking; you may be surprised to hear. There is actually a lot of hiking to be done in HK, once you get out of the city hub. The rest of HK is perfect for a hike up the hills.  You can reach most destinations by bus and a beach is at the end of the walk.
  • Macao: Technically Macao is not in Hong Kong, but it is about a 1 hour ferry ride away. It is known at the Las Vegas of Asia, with a lot of the casinos in Las Vegas, having a similar if not identical casino on the island.  Macao used to be a Portuguese Colony, and you can see the differences that the Portuguese have made to the Island compared to the English in Hong Kong.  If you take a walk through the town and up to the ruins of the church, then you will see some beautiful courtyards that you would expect to see in Portugal or Spain.
  • The last activity is my favourite in HK, It is going on a junk boat.  It entails hiring out a boat, normally with about 30 people on-board with you. They come with staff and driver. Often the people are friend-of-friends, basically if you have been invited by someone, then you can invite people to come as well.  Often you only know about 5-10 people on board.  The boat then heads out off the harbour and around the coast to a secluded part of HK and drops anchor.  Often you take a small speed boat as well and once anchored everyone goes banana boating, wakeboarding and other activities, or they just jump into the water.  Food and drink is provided on the boat and everyone has a blast.  It is a great day out.

Restaurants

  • In Hong Kong there is lots of great restaurants from across the world, the majority are Chinese or Asian.  The best thing to do when looking for a restaurant is, do what the locals do.  Use the website OpenRice to look for restaurants that are in HK.  The best thing about the website is that you can sort the restaurants out by price, area, and type of restaurant.  So explore the site and find some restaurants that you want to eat at.
  •  Another helpful bit of advice for ordering in restaurant most of them will have a picture menu.  But you can also just point to what other people are ordering, it isn’t rude to order your food like that.

About Author: Oliver Smith has spent an extensive amount of time living in Hong Kong.  He is a travel writer working with CoverMore.  He is currently living in Beijing.  Take out Quality Travel Insurance before discovering the wonders of HongKong.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of Cover-More Insurance.

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