I swear, I have learned more in the last 10 days than I have in all of my high school education. The craziness before travel is setting in, especially with my mother’s need to be uber-prepared for anything (which I’m super thankful for, don’t misinterpret this for a complaint).
The biggest things we have had to tackle are finances and medications. The foreign transaction fees are sky high on my current cards, but it is near impossible to get a good credit card under your own name if you’re under 25 and don’t have enough established credit or income. These are the things they don’t tell you in school!
I will say; if you decide to get a debit card in addition to credit to use abroad, look into the Charles Schwab High Investor Checking account (2017). So far it seems almost too good to be true! Besides having a $0 Annual Fee and no foreign transaction fees, it doesn’t cost anything or require a minimum deposit to open the account. You DO have to open a brokerage account (which for someone who still isn’t super fluent in finances, can be super confusing). The account typically requires a $1000 deposit so the bank can invest, but this is waived if you create the checking account! Great, right?
The employees there were also incredibly hands-on; especially considering typical interactions with banks and the call-centers they direct you to. I received personalized correspondence about next steps, and they couldn’t have been more helpful about all of my questions. It clearly sounded like it was my first rodeo, lol.
Four financial lessons later, I have mostly tackled how I’m going to spend money when I’m abroad–though I haven’t even begun on budgeting out what I want to do. God bless us all.