You have probably heard that MasterCard is the credit card that is accepted anywhere. From your local gas station to the bookshop on the corner, chances are high that if the business accepts credit cards, they take MasterCard. But how about when it comes to traveling far from home, even to foreign countries? We were pleasantly surprised on a recent vacation when it comes to MasterCard and finding places that accept it.
But let’s go back a few years, to give you the whole picture!
1992 – My entire family, along with some family friends, embarked on an epic 2-week long vacation to Southern California. I remember going with my mom to the bank before our trip to exchange cash for paper Traveler’s Checks. These handy little certificates were like the ancient grandpa of today’s debit gift cards. You preload them with a set amount of cash and spend them as if they are cash. The trick is finding stores that accept them as payment (not all stores do) and once you cash a traveler’s check, the change is handed back to you in cash. That kind of defeats the point of traveling sans cash.
2010 – Our first cruise with Lily Bean, leaving Baltimore, MD and traveling to the Caribbean and back. We were excited to take a couple of American Express gift cards with us to use as spending money. We received them as holiday gifts and planned to use them towards various souvenirs. That plan quickly fizzled when we disembarked our ship in Nassau, Bahamas to find that none of the shops we visited accepted American Express credit OR gift cards. Big bummer.
2013 – It seems we may have finally learned from our previous travel woes. In January of this year, we cruised from Miami to the Western Caribbean, making stops in Mexico, Honduras and Grand Cayman. Before we left home, Bob and I both sat down and emptied our wallets of everything minus our driver’s licenses and our MasterCards. We decided that we would take a small amount of cash for places that accepted only cash and that for everything else, we would use the MasterCard since it seemed to be accepted pretty much everywhere we went.
And accepted everywhere is exactly what we encountered! We literally used that MasterCard to pay for everything along our journey – minus cash tips that we handed to various bellhops, drivers, tour guides, etc.
Before we boarded our ship in Miami, MasterCard paid for a delicious breakfast and our hotel room downtown.
In Cozumel, Mexico, MasterCard paid for our shore excursion to a private beach where we enjoyed the day relaxing in the sun, partaking in tasty beverages and eating the most delicious chips/salsa/guac that I have ever had!
The next day in Costa Maya, Mexico, our MasterCard funded our trip to the ancient Mayan city of Chacchoben, bought us some fresh empanadas and also purchased some mocha lattes which we enjoyed on our balcony (Kindles in hand) while Lily napped.
Sailing right along, our next stop was to the beautiful island of Roatan, Honduras. Not only did our MasterCard help us to secure a private beach cabana for the day, it was used to buy our beach-side lunch as well. Despite some on and off rain showers, it was a fantastic day!
Our final port of call during the cruise was to Grand Cayman. We had a super busy day planned and once again, MasterCard was our go-to source for payment. We used our card to purchase a “swim with the dolphins” encounter which was easily one of our favorite cruise memories. Once our charter bus brought us back to town, we did some souvenir shopping and then found a little coffee shop where we relaxed with some snacks and coffee. We were thankful to find that every single one of these stops accepted MasterCard.
Sadly before we knew it, we were sailing back into the Port of Miami. It was truly a fantastic vacation and we came home with a slew of great memories (not to mention the secret that our family was about to get a little bigger)!
We were thankful that our trusty MasterCard came in so handy throughout our out-of-country travels. It was a big peace of mind to know that we could leave our other cards and most of our cash at home where they would stay safe. Every time we take a trip we come away a little more travel savvy than we were before we left… and it goes without saying that our MasterCard will always come with us on the road – and most definitely be our main credit card abroad!