Traveling Abroad Made Easier with MasterCard is a sponsored post for Collective Bias® and their client. Regardless of compensation, all opinions expressed in this post are still my own.
This past spring, our family made a big trek which involved flying to the lower 48, purchasing a RV in Louisiana, and then driving to a few other spots in the United States to visit extended family before the long drive back to Alaska. That long drive to Alaska included nearly a week going across Canada. While we thought we were prepared, we found a few bumps in the road when it came for purchasing gas and other necessities. Thankfully, we found traveling abroad was made easier with MasterCard.
Like most travelers, we thought we had prepared in advance. We expected some hiccups (like traffic in construction zones or weather delays) or challenges (like the metric system.) But we did not expect to enter Canada and find our payment options for purchases severely restricted. But, that’s just what we found. The credit card my husband had planned to use (and was advertised as being accepted throughout Canada) wasn’t usable outside of a Walmart where we were traveling. That had me searching my purse for other options and fast.
Thankfully, I had our primary bank card, a MasterCard, on hand. Before even trying to utilize that card, I called the bank to have it flagged for use in Canada for the dates we anticipated needing it. Our bank is serious about fraud and would have shut down the card if we had used it out of country without alerting them. While getting our MasterCard set up for use out of country, I discovered that our bank’s foreign transaction fee was substantially less than that charged by another credit card we were carrying that could have been used.
Not only that, but I could use it to access our bank account and get cash to have on hand just in case we encountered those mom and pop shops The Milepost book (the handbook for anyone travelling the Al-Can) mentioned as they might not even accept a credit card. Ironically, I still have most of the Canadian currency as that wasn’t an issue.
Literally, our MasterCard was accepted everywhere we went.
How was Traveling Abroad Made Easier with MasterCard?
We used our MasterCard for purchasing gasoline. The RV only gets around 7 to 8 miles per gallon, so we needed a LOT of fuel for the trip totally just over 6,000 miles from start to finish. To buy or not to buy gasoline wasn’t the question, but rather how we’d pay for it.
We used our MasterCard for grocery items. Rather than buying all of our food at restaurants, we economized by using the cooking facilities in the RV and bought foods that were easy to prepare and store. I did splurge on the occasional cup of coffee or even some baked goods at a bakery in Haines Junction as we’d heard good things about it from others.
We used our MasterCard for overnight stays in RV parks. Not a single one of the parks in Canada where we stayed accepted anything other than cash, MasterCard or Visa. While I had a Visa card on hand, that particular one charged a 3% transaction fee compared to the 1% our bank issued MasterCard assessed. That 2% can really add up, too!
Traveling Abroad Made Easier with MasterCard Allowed Us to Enjoy the Ride
Although we did not make a lot of stops on the way home to Alaska, we did occasionally stop at some sightseeing spots along the way. Plus, the drive through the Canadian Rocky Mountains in British Columbia was almost as good as an animal park for spotting native species.
I will admit that the whole family breathed a sigh of relief when we crossed the border back into Alaska. Even with another day of travel, there is something about being back ‘home’ the eases any stress you were carrying. There were still a few hiccups (like finding a place to stay the night as so many RV parks were closed due to late season snowfalls), but at least how to pay for things was not a concern.
After this experience in Canada, I’m convinced that the next time we go on a trip I’ll make sure to have our MasterCard on hand. Our trip through Canada could have been a nightmare without it. (Visit my Google Plus album to see more photos of our trip. )Thankfully, our MasterCard was accepted everywhere we went and will be my “go to” travel card in the future, too.
Have you ever experienced problems with paying for things while traveling?
What financial preparations do you make before going on a trip?