A Money Coach in Canada

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This is Post #3 in July’s series of money tips for travellers.

Post 1:  How to save money in England

Post 2:  How to save money on accommodation (without sacrificing comfort)



1. Confirm that your debit and credit cards use chip technology This has messed me up in my month in England. My Visa card has the chip but neither of my debit cards do! No merchants can swipe my debit cards, consequently, I have to use my Visa card. This is not great (see #2)

2. Find out how your Visa calculates the exchange rate if you are travelling abroad. This varies from bank to bank. In my case, the exchange rate is first calculated from GDP into USD then into CAD. Some banks charge a double whammy for those to conversations. All banks (I believe) add an “administrative” percentage to the exchange rate. Mine is 2%. . CIBC is 2.5% This isn’t terribly significant but it’s worth knowing what you getting into.

3. Scan your calendar for the time you are going to be away. Are there any one-off or regular payments going to be made? (what’s that? you don’t have those noted anywhere? Hmm. Need a little help getting your money organized? My biz can help). Ensure those payments are organized (cheques left, funds in account or what have you).

4. Call your banks to let them know where you are travelling. Trust me on this – it will save you the time and hassle of your visa card being suspended for “suspicious” activity. (And if that does happen, don’t get mad at your bank. Thank them for protecting your visa).

5. Get travel insurance. First, check what your employer provides and what your credit card provides and what your regular insurer provides. If they don’t, or strike you as insufficient, shell out the extra $$ for peace of mind.

Photo Credit: Clive C

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. One quick comment on travel insurance . . . an uncle of mine was covered on his credit card and didn’t buy any additional. It turned out that the agreement with his credit card was that any medical expenses incurred were first put against his available credit limit, to be reimbursed at the end of the accounting period. He didn’t actually have to pay, but if you are counting on your credit card to cover hotel costs, etc. and then have to see a doctor for food poisoning or something, you could suddenly end up with a maxxed out credit card for the rest of your trip. NOT fun! So always check and see how the credit card company insurance will handle any claims while you are abroad in addition to the limits of coverage and exclusions!


    Nancy (aka Moneycoach) Reply:

    wow – I don’t think they even put that in the fine print! thanks for the headsup Jennifer.


    Jul 09, 2011
  2. ET

    This is a bit confusing:
    your visa being suspended for “suspicious” activity.
    I think what you want to say is that your credit card could be suspended, not you travel visa.


    Nancy (aka Moneycoach) Reply:

    just edited post accordingly 🙂


    Jul 09, 2011

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