As you prepare for your trip you might be deciding what city to visit over the other or trying to find the most economical flight and while all of this is great I would like to share the hidden fees that some might not be aware of which definitely add up.
One of these being knowing of the foreign transaction fee. The foreign transaction fee is an added charge when making a purchase abroad on a debit or credit card. The percentage fee is usually 3%. This will definitely begin to add up not to mention the fact adding other charges such as euro conversion and the fee for doing this. American dollars and Euros are not equal so let’s say if you have 20 dollars, you would have around 18 euros. When you do this conversion at an ATM your bank adds on another 5 dollar fee. So you can imagine how this can slowly but surely make a difference in your wallet. Some ways around this would be acquiring a credit card without a foreign transaction fee. Many other students who do not have good enough credit for these cards can potentially ask their parents to get one and just reimburse them. Another option would be to open a bank account in the country you are studying in to avoid foreign fees. Without much knowledge of such fees another way I tried to lessen these fees was by taking out cash from ATMs in large quantities. An ATM I would recommend is BANCOMAT. This was ideal because around Rome most places preferred cash rather than cards(I honestly had never used so much cash over my card before). Ideally before you depart to Rome definitely go to a currency exchange to change around 250 to have enough to pay for a taxi or food once arriving. I would not suggest converting so much cash in the states because you have the possibility of losing it or having it stolen.
Your phone is not only a huge essential while in the States but especially abroad since it is your navigator, a way to communicate in case of an emergency, and a way of staying in touch with your family back home. As essential as it is, it can also be another burden to your wallet. Not only are foreign transaction fees one way to dry out your savings but also international fees on your phone plan. Before leaving abroad this is one matter to decide how to deal with. For example, I have sprint as my cell phone provider so I called them to let them know I was going to be abroad and wanted a plan which would work abroad and not be too expensive. They switched it and it was only supposed to be 25 dollars more a month. Sadly, I had so many issues with my company that I would not recommend this option unless you are certain with your provider. My reasoning for this is that I noticed rather than it being 25 more it would be 130. I continuously had these issues up until I came back to the U.S.. Luckily I complained once returning since this is what I was trying to avoid and had all extra cost removed. Other options I heard other students do in regards to their cellphones was either buying an Italian phone and plan which was inexpensive(30 euros) or getting a new sim card for your iphone which I heard was also inexpensive. I would highly suggest using either of these two options and to download whatsapp where you can send texts and make calls with the use of internet service.