the challenge of traveling abroad and a guide with everything you need to know before paying

With the 2023 vacation countdown, spending the summer “outside” has already taken off on the scale of very high costs for Argentines.

To discourage travel abroad, in the midst of the critical shortage of reserves facing the Central Bank, the Ministry of Economy added the “Qatar Dollar”, which applies to the purchase of tickets, packages and tourist services that cross our borders, together with consumption that equals or exceeds 300 dollars.

A lots of they anticipated, reserved and paid everything in early October, just before the new exchange rate is imposed. Several more waited, because they did not know if they would be able to pay for the trip or even how they would be allowed to do so.

Today, going on vacation abroad is a challenge. Not only because of the factual increases that these tax blows on the passport imply.

Can the cards be used or not in the country of destination? Under what conditions? What happens if the limit is not enough to pay everything? How should pay abroad? Can you pay in cash a ticket? Can dollars be withdrawn from an ATM abroad? Various themes add up confusion among travelers who will cross the border. Here, an answer to the most frequent.

How should pay

The new exchange rate is a additional insight on account of Personal Assets of 25% on the official dollar ($173.66), which is added to the already existing 30% of the PAIS tax and 45% on account of the Income Tax. In summary: consumptions starting at US$300 per month will be paid at $347.32, the highest price so far. It is a 100% tax on the expenses in dollars that exceed the monthly cap.

All of the above, it is not convenient to use the card if that amount is exceeded, because the parallel dollars are cheaper than the Qatar dollar. Nor is it convenient if you spend up to $299.

Depending on the day, of course, because the tourist dollar on Monday was $303.91, the blue $318, and the MEP (which is the dollar obtained by buying and selling bonds) was $314.02. Until mid-November, the tourist and the blue were almost the same, even the informal a few tenths below.

Today the best way to avoid taxes is pay with dollars for consumption in dollars.

It also all depends on who is the traveler. The perceptions on account of Profits or Personal Assets are used the following year to pay taxes or the AFIP returns it if the tax is not reached (but what is withheld, of course, loses to inflation). If applicable, each taxpayer uploads their consumption and requests refunds on the agency’s website.

Nothing is automatic. It is also not intuitive. And let’s remember that there are no quotas for this.

The “curl”

“Look at the sophistication of all this: to see how much I can recover or if it is convenient to do the rollwhich is a phenomenon that is happening. There is a whole re-engineering of thinking to travel“, dice a Clarion Carlos Nuñez, director of the Argentine Forum of Corporate Travel Consultants (FACVE).

Nuñez has been in the world of tourism for 40 years. He calls this new measure “a patch short-sighted and distortingwhich has not helped the consumer or the travel agencies”.

Regarding this loop, another important travel agent who prefers to remain anonymous says that “there are plenty of ways to do it. In general, the agencies have how to charge abroad,” he says. Nobody wants to give details and some operators say they don’t know, but it hovers almost like an urban legend that there are those who modify the VPN to buy abroad, those who buy a package from an account they have abroad with a foreign card, or those who buy through relatives abroad to avoid paying the Qatar dollar and travel.

The card limit, a problem

How does a family of two adults and two children travel to an all inclusive in the Caribbean, when the limit of the card has already been ridiculously low?

“There are many queries and the agencies have the added value of being able to book and pay for most of the services in Argentina, because the all inclusiveunlike, for example, a hotel in Miami where you can pay with the physical dollar, They require everything to be prepaid.. And since it is not only accommodation but also food, and at least a week, they are high values,” says Nuñez.

What do they do then? “That family goes to the agency and pays the dollars for the ticket plus the dollars for the stay, all in Qatar dollars. He is going to prepay everything here at a price higher than the currency dollar. ​You will be transferred to the agency from account to account (not with the card) and you can travel. It’s more expensive, but they can do it if you don’t give them credit. There is no impediment,” he explains.

And with the expenses abroad? Can the limit of the card be increased for consumptions? Yes. Although there is no cap, today, for payments for goods and services abroad using a credit or purchase card, the limit is the one defined by the issuing financial institution based on the income and credit history of the person now eager to travel.

The consultants interviewed by Clarion They suggested going to the banks “with much anticipation and patience” to process the increase in that limit. In addition to delays, depending on the request and the age of the client some even request medical check-ups to authorize the update.

What happens to those who spend 300 dollars or more, adding the expenses of all the cards from different banks or from the extensions that you granted or from their accounts? fintech? The perception “Qatar dollar” is applied. It all adds up. Until the payment of the subscription to Netflix, which is in dollars.

Keys to give “air” to the card

Another new habit in this age of Qatari dollars and card limits that are never reached is that many travelers request to transfer the value of the ticket to the airlines, in order to use the credit for other travel expenses. Most companies also accept that it is a deposit, although they charge a surcharge of 5% by law. They do not accept cash.

To give more “air” to the card, other resources in the destination country can also be used. One of them is paying with a debit card.

If you have an account in pesos and another in dollars, both linked to the same card, you can decide through home banking which of the accounts will be debited. If the debit card is configured to take money from a savings bank in dollars, you can consume goods and services in foreign currency without caps or surcharges until funds run out.

If the card debits money from a savings bank in pesos, the same criteria applies. But every dollar spent outside will be weighed immediately. This will be done, depending on the case: at the “tourist” exchange rate of the day (official price plus 75% surcharge); or to the “Qatar dollar” (official plus 100% surcharge) if the consumption exceeds US$ 300 in the month.

Regarding the “cash advances” With the credit card at an ATM abroad, you can withdraw dollars, euros, reales, Uruguayan pesos, and others. The limit is 50 dollars in neighboring countries and 200 dollars in the rest of the planet. These maximum amounts are governed by operation and it is possible to make more than one, up to the advance limit set by the bank. As this operation is a “loan”, you have to pay commissions and interest that are usually high.

And how to pay the card after a trip? The expenses abroad will be seen in the next summary, in dollars. It can be settled in two ways, at your choice. In dollars, with savings, without surcharges. In pesos, converting the amount to the official price of the day plus 75% (30% “PAIS tax” and 45% advance of Earnings or Personal Assets). Remember that if the consumption of the holder of the plastic exceeds US$ 300 in the month, the “Qatar dollar” will be applied.

Traveler profile 2023

For the next summer vacation, Nuñez explains, there will be no new travelers. “Between the general economic situation, plus the inflationary level, the cut in credit card fees and tourism taxes, the possibility of new public travel has become more uphill,” he says.

Whoever travels is who yes or yes goes abroad. To a much lesser extent, there are also those who compare the prices of traveling in Argentina and, although it is more expensive to vacation abroad, “they see that it is also increasingly expensive to do so in our territory, and Are they willing to pay the difference in price?“to meet a destination outside.

He describes this second group as “travellers who had it postponed” and that “due to this post-pandemic effect, they said ‘Now I am traveling'”.

“As soon as the Qatar dollar measure was known, there was a stop in sales,” closes the director of FACVE. On the other hand, an increase in consultations with travel agencies, to see what is best and, first, if it is still “possible” to travel abroad.

The big picture behind this guide is that the summer season It’s already 80% sold.. Because of the lower air supply that there is abroad and the anticipation of people to ensure vacations and beat the taxes that were coming and inflation.

According to data from Despegar, in terms of the ranking of international destinations for the 2023 summer season, Rio de Janeiro is the star. Rio is accompanied by Madrid, Santiago de Chile, Miami and Cancun.

If we talk about prices, and being able to pay from here for that platform, among the most convenient for Rio de Janeiro a 5-night package in January is $184,000 per person, with direct flight and accommodation with breakfast included. For Santiago de Chile, a 6-night package in February costs $115,000. For Miami, the package for 4 nights in the same month is already $411,000.


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