1. Know how you'll pay for things before you get there
If you're traveling outside the U.S., call your bank and credit card company before you leave. Not only will that prevent fraud alerts and freezes to your accounts, but you'll learn about any potential fees you might incur and can plan ahead.
For your debit card:
Most ATMs charge a $3 to $7 fee per transaction and confirm that you agree to the charge before processing your withdrawal. But many banks charge an international fee too, which you won't be alerted to at the kiosk. Consider opening an account with a bank that waives international fees, or at the very least, avoid making multiple withdrawals.
For your credit card:
"Foreign exchange fees are the banks' and credit card companies' dirty little secret," says entrepreneur and frequent traveler Richard Moross. "If you travel regularly, you need a better solution for card and cash payments."
Consider applying for a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees. Avoid cash advances, for which you'll be hit with high transaction and interest fees, at all costs.
If you're going to exchange money upon arrival, travel blogger and best-selling author Matthew Kepnes says don't do it at the airport.
"The rates you see at airports are the worst. Never, ever use an exchange bureau there unless you absolutely have to," Kepnes writes on his blog.
You can avoid exchange fees altogether by using your debit card and withdrawing cash from an ATM.