You've been dreaming of leaving the country for what feels like eons. Nothing against the good ol' US of A, but there comes a time when you just need a change of scenery, and that time is now! Now that you've finally made the jump, let's get prepared.
Fresh new backpack with the lockable zippers? Check. Passport and visas all squared away? Double check. Vaccinations and antibiotics? Got it covered. Maybe you've even purchased a water purifier to be extra prepared. What else can you possibly need to prepare for your international adventure?
Open Up An Additional Bank Account
Why? It's always a good idea to spread your travel funds over several bank accounts. That way if a card gets lost or stolen, or if one of your accounts is frozen, you still have access to some money wherever you are in the world. Different banks also have unique qualities which can benefit you abroad if used wisely.
I actually recommend opening 3 bank accounts before your next trip and I'll explain why:
Domestic bank checking account
This is the bank that you'll use in the US. It should be an easily accessible brick and mortar bank with which you can foster a relationship (e.g. TD Bank, Bank of America, your local community bank). If you have a bank right now that you really like, stick with it. My only recommendation for a domestic bank is to try and find one that has minimal fees. The more money you save, the longer you can travel.
A special travel checking account
This is the account that you'll primarily use while you're abroad. This can be any bank of your choice but at the moment I highly recommend opening an account with Charles Schwab. At the moment I'm writing this, Charles Schwab reimburses all ATM fees wherever you are in the world. Over time, that's a lot of savings.
A savings account
The purpose of opening a savings account is twofold. First, depending on how much money put in prior to the trip you, you may make a little interest on it. You won't make a load of interest with APY rates these days, but every little bit helps. Second, linking your savings account to your two checking accounts allows you to transfer funds without compromising the security of either checking account. Just make sure that there isn't a limit on how many monthly transfers you can make.
Do a little research and find a bank that offers a high APY (Annual Percentage Yield). At the moment, unless you have a lot of money to start an account, Barclays and Ally are your best bet. I use Barclays and I've never had any complaints.
After you set up each account, simply link your two checking accounts to your one savings account and you're all set. At home you can use your normal checking account, abroad you can use your Charles Schwab account to save you from all those ATM fees, and in between your savings account will gather a little bit of interest to help you accomplish your travel goals faster.
So do some research today and be one step closer to your next adventure.