Traveling abroad takes planning. As you plan, remember to consider the financial tools you will need for your trip. Carrying large amounts of cash from home is risky. It’s safer to take credit cards and rely on ATM withdrawals for the cash you need.
The U.S. State Department recommends taking two major credit cards, one as your primary card and another as a back-up. According to MSN Money, you should also verify that a card is accepted in a restaurant before using it. It’s rare, but in some instances, credit card logos are posted on the front door as a status symbol and the merchant may not actually accept the card.
ATM withdrawals are the easiest and least expensive way to get cash abroad. ATM card withdrawals are exchanged based on wholesale exchange rate, a rate usually reserved for very large, inter-bank exchanges. This rate is typically 2-5 percent better than you receive when exchanging traveler’s checks at a local bank or money change bureau, where additional transaction fees can take another 2 percent of your money.
Before you leave home: