I am getting ready to leave for the Galapagos (thursday!) and my question for you is...what do you think is the best way to handle money while traveling abroad? Travelers checks? Get out a bit of cash and convert it and then just charge as much as I can on my credit card? What do you think? Thanks,
The best might be one option that you didnâ€™t mention: using your ATM card.
Travelerâ€™s checks are good, but most banks charge a fee (1-2%) to get them. If your bank doesnâ€™t charge (which some credit unions don't), then thatâ€™s a pretty good deal.
Check with your credit card company. Nowadays most charge a foreign exchange premium or surcharge for foreign transactions. A few credit cards donâ€™t â€“ they just exchange at the market rates and they donâ€™t tack on a profit. If your credit card doesnâ€™t charge, then use it.
Chances are your credit card charges you and your bank charges you for travelerâ€™s checks. To avoid those fees, go with an ATM card. The exchange rate the ATM gives you is usually fair and the foreign bank will give you the local currency, not dollars.
The ATM does charge you $1-5 per withdrawal (just like they do in the USA, when you withdraw from another bank ATM). Therefore, when you do take out, take out at least $100 worth.
Arrive in the country with $200 in cash so you donâ€™t have to look for an ATM. Exchange $50-100 at the airport (where they rip you off), and then exchange the rest either at a bank or a professional money charge whose rates are posted.
NITRO WROTE BACK:
Thanks for the info. I checked with my Bank and they charge 2% for traveler's checks. My ATM card also charges me $5 per transaction so that kind of sucks. My credit card does not charge any fees so I am taking cash and charging the hell out of everything I can.
Nitro, wow $5 is high. Yes, your credit card is the best option in your case!