It's hard to beat a trip to Europe. You get scenery, history, different cuisines, museums, shopping, new friends to make, and more. Your trip can quickly become a bummer, though, if the credit card you brought with you keeps getting rejected.

That's increasingly happening to Americans in Europe, because many countries there are now using a different kind of card than we use over here. The new system requires purchasers to enter a PIN instead of signing a receipt, and the European cards have extra information embedded on a chip within them. In other words, your card just might not work in many places. Especially troublesome are self-serve card-reading machines at places such as gas stations and train stations.

According to a Washington Post article, "MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Visa and American Express (NYSE:AXP) representatives say every business that accepts their cards must agree to accept swipe-and-sign cards as well as chip and PIN ones." Despite this, you may still run into hassles. You can avoid them by being prepared. Carry some extra cash, for example, and look for staffed vending stations when you're ready to buy.

On a related note, beware international transaction fees on your credit card. Popular card-issuers like Citigroup (NYSE:C), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), US Bancorp (NYSE:USB), and GE Money (NYSE:GE) are just a few of the companies that tack on these charges, so be careful when you travel. (Or, if you're an investor in them, you can simply cheer them on.)

I encourage you to visit our Travel Center and our Best Travel Spots and Tips discussion board for more advice on venturing abroad. Closer to home, our Credit Center can give you the inside scoop on the credit card industry, while the following articles can help you use those cards Foolishly:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of General Electric. MasterCard is a former Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. US Bancorp is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Try any of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.