Affording travel can be tough, but believe it or not, you can have even more trouble with the mechanics behind your bank and credit cards than with the financial practicals of saving up for that next trip to the beach. There are some essential travel hacks for credit cards that you've absolutely got to know before you cross country lines, because I can promise you from experience that being prepared is going to save you a whole lot of stress.
The first time I, an American, joined my Canadian then-girlfriend, now-spouse in Canada, I expected a magical couple weeks of winter wonderland. What I did not expect was, on the first night I was there, to have my card denied when I tried to treat my partner to a movie and dinner. I had more than enough money to cover the bill, and hadn't run into any problems with my card making airline purchases earlier that day, but after trying the card several times, I had to admit defeat.
As it turned out, my bank had blocked my card on suspicion of fraud. Even now, as a permanent resident of Canada who still has a U.S. credit card, I still occasionally have to deal with my purchases being blocked. I'm used to it now, but for folks only spending a short time in another country, the possibility of a card not working on top of considerations like international charge fees and the usual stress of managing a budget can suck all the fun out of a "relaxing" vacation.
Luckily, a little forward thinking is all you need to avoid the majority of credit card-related travel disasters.