Money makes the world go ‘round. And to get ‘round the world you need money. It use to be you headed to the bank and got trusted traveler’s checks. No more. As a matter of fact, traveler’s checks are no longer welcome in many destinations around the world. So the best approach is a multi-pronged one.
- Several weeks prior to departure call your bank and order enough local currency for 1-2 days of expenses. This can vary depending on the type of trip, what is included in the cost of your trip and/or what has been paid in advance. Note: Bank of America customer can order currency online and have it delivered to a branch or their home. AAA offers foreign currency, but rates are generally higher than those of banks.
- Use your ATM card to obtain local currency from machines at your destination. Call your bank 1-2 weeks prior to departure and notify them of your travel and confirm the daily withdrawal limits. By using an ATM, you minimize the amount of cash you are carrying and obtain a fair exchange rate. For safety reasons, use the ATM only during the day in public areas or in secure locations (use your ATM card to gain access ATMs in locked areas). Ensure a buffer of cash in the account to be used and maintain a log of withdrawals as balance information is often not available.
- For major purchases use credit cards. Call the credit card company 1-2 weeks prior to departure to notify them of your travels and inquire about any fees. Many cards charge a foreign transaction fee of approximately 3%, but there are cards including American Express and some from Capital One that do not charge foreign transaction fees. Keep a list of customer service numbers in the event you have a problem or cards are stolen.
- NOTE: Some destinations or areas may not have ATM machines or take credit cards. In these areas, travelers checks are usually still accepted. We can assist you with this information when you book your trip with Wizard of Odysseys.