Millions of Canadians travel abroad with their domestic credit cards—and not realizing they’re racking up foreign transaction (also called “forex”) fees with every purchase. The 2.5% charged for every purchase you make in a foreign currency might not seem much, but can add up very quickly. For perspective, that’s $25 in forex fees for every $1,000 you spend on your card, and you have to pay the exchange rate as well.
If you like to explore other countries on vacation or your work frequently takes you abroad, it’s worth considering a card that travels with you.
The good news is there are a few credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees (or their fees are returned to you as cash back), ultimately helping frequent travellers put the 2.5% back into their pockets. These picks are based on our analysis of each card’s benefits and annual fees; foreign transaction fees and how they’re handled (if rebated); and whether there are additional rewards incentives for using the card domestically and/or abroad.
I’ve been an avid Apple Watch user for years. It’s a great device for surfacing notifications, weather, events, and health information, but I have to admit I’ve yet to fully unlock the power of the workout app and features.
Being a beginner skier, on a recent trip to Whistler, B.C., I put the technology through its paces to see if it could really help me on the slopes. Pro skiers like Canada’s own gold medalists Brady Leman and Marielle Thompson train with Apple Watch, so I put it to the test!
App feature: snoww
The app I started with is aptly named, snoww. Its approach is whimsical in design, functional in features, and friendly in competition. It loads on iPhone and Apple Watch, and directly on your wrist, you can start, pause, and end ski and snowboard tracking at a tap of a button.
“We designed snoww thinking about quick interactions and glances while out on the mountain,” said Eddy Healey, developer of snoww. “[It’s] easy to record accurate, relevant metrics as well as create a fun and social experience for our users.”
While on the slopes, users can see relevant information like distance, time, total runs, maximum speed, vertical gain, as well as a great way to find your friends should you split up. Whistler is a vast ski resort with dozens of runs, so being able to track my friends’ whereabouts is a powerful tool socially, but critical from a safety perspective, too.
Speaking of safety, Apple Watch really lives up to the “guardian on your wrist” mandate while on the hills. Emergency SOS is an option that surfaces when Apple Watch detects a hard fall. Users have a limited time to respond to a haptic notification before emergency services are contacted, and on the snoww itself, skiers can see in a one-view where friends are in realtime, meaning you can see which direction they’re headed and check their battery and signal levels.
From a social perspective, like Twitter or Facebook, you can follow your favourites to compete in leaderboards, earn trophies, compare statistics, and my favourite, use the walkie talkie app within Apple Watch to send short voice messages to one another without texting or making a lengthy phone call. Lastly, upload and share memories with friends on a photo stream within the snoww app.
Après ski recovery
After I hit the slopes, I took a chance to recover with some yoga. While it’s a good opportunity to put away the stresses of social media and frequent notifications of our smartphones, there is room for technology and fitness tracking.
Apple Watch intuitively gives yogis credit where credit’s due through the precision of heart-rate tracking and accurate active caloric burn—allowing you to focus on being zen, and less about keeping track. It will give you only the information you need, and the rest—the distracting stuff—is put away.
Hitting the trails
Finally, to help you close those rings, running is an activity that runs circles around other fitness trackers. It takes things way further than steps earned, providing deeper analysis like rolling mile, active calories, cadence, pace alert, and high/low heart rate.
Ultra marathoner Ray Zahab empowers technology to help identify routes, surface weather and safety alerts, and even provide entertainment through his AirPods.
On my run with friends, we used Apple Watch to take us through the paths near Lost Lake, trails into the woods, and navigate rolling terrain to discover the true beauty of British Columbia.
Technology shouldn’t get in the way of what you do, especially when it comes to fitness. It should complement and intuitively provide the information you need to optimally enhance your experience. And that’s exactly what Apple Watch does well—being that guardian looking after your health, safety, and keeping you connected.