Money Matters

Pay Down Debt

Unfortunately international schools will generally not take care of student loan debt for teachers. So, be sure to have your finances in order before you go so that you can have the financial freedom to traveling around your new country. That means your credit cards should be paid down, student loans current, your house rented, and any bankruptcy should be completely discharged. Taking care of obligations back home will allow you to have the peace of mind to enjoy your new life rather than worrying about loose ends at home.

Currency and Exchange Rates Abroad

Before you go overseas be sure to alert your credit card company of your travels or they may consider overseas card use “suspicious activity” and block access your card. Credit cards are often not accepted at merchants in many countries. In third world countries when credit cards are accepted, their use is ill-advised unless the merchant is a major multinational company like the Hilton. When you do use credit cards, be aware that most all credit card issuers charge at least a 1% fee for overseas purchases.

Using Cash Abroad

As for cash, the best way to get local currency is through ATM machines, since your debit card from back home should work around the world (check with your bank just to be sure). At an ATM you’ll get the best exchange rate with no transaction fee, you can take out as much or as little as you need, and you don’t have to worry about losing traveler’s checks or finding a trustworthy bank.

Financial Protection Abroad

Use common sense and always be aware of your money, especially in crowded markets and bazaars where thieves prey on tourists. Carry a bag that is hard to get into, with a zipper and clasp for example, or wear a money belt. If you carry a wallet, put it in your front pocket and wrap several thick rubber bands around it to make it difficult for anyone to pull it out without your knowledge. U.S. citizens can protect their identity at home while living overseas by signing up for credit monitoring service or finding someone to manage their money. While overseas you can also use an investment tracking tool to keep current with your investments while traveling or working overseas.