When going abroad, how do you take your money?

All hard cash? Some travellers cheques?

I guess you could use your normal current bank account, but the UK banks (at least my one did) charges fees all over the place.

If you visit a particular country often, is it even possible to open a bank account there? Sure, you'd get charged a fee on the transfer of money, but at least when you're there, any time you need cash from an ATM there would be no fees, and you can rely on the local bank account being more widely accepted than your "foreign" cards

  • I have carried a few large and medium currency notes and a card in thin plastic bags hidden in my shoes to insure against the pickpocketed/penniless scenario. – Paul Sep 11 '12 at 11:53

Just tell your bank where you're going so they don't lock your account, and then take your Visa, and take enough cash to survive if something happens to your Visa account (sometimes banks lock them anyways out of idiocy). I usually take about 600 bucks cash for a week excursion (enough for food and a shack, or a mansion if you're in Asia). I figure, I'm carrying my passport which is worth thousands to criminals abroad around my neck. Why worry about carrying a little cash.

As far as the Visa goes, just make sure your bank doesn't charge enormous fees for currency conversion.

As far as carrying the local currency goes. I don't recommend it. Just figure out the conversion rate, and you'll save about 5% of your money from fees converting to and from. If you're going to Russia, do convert your currency first.

When I traveled to Germany, I found it was much better to get cash at ATMs and use credit cards. The exchange rate was better than exchanging dollars for Euros at an exchange center. Just make sure you have enough cash to get from the airport to whereever your are traveling. The airport exchange rates were terrible.

  • The prevalence of foreign transaction fees makes this a less attractive option now. – Eric Jun 23 '15 at 15:51

I have heard it recommended on the money radio shows to get a little walking around money in the local currency at your local bank, but look for a credit card that offers low or no fees for international usage. The credit card company will do all the monetary conversions for you for a smaller fee.

To address the travelers checks question: waste of time and money. I did this years ago, the fees were outrageous, it was a hassle to find some place to cash them, and in the end you're carrying cash anyway.

Otherwise do what orokusaki said.

see http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money if you are in the UK wishing to go on holiday outside of the uk

  • 1
    Good link. The banks in the UK have a different fee structures then in the US. While I would only pay 1% on an ATM withdrawal abroad from a US account, from a UK account it is close to 5%! But then there aren't domestic ATM fees in the UK. – g . Aug 16 '10 at 9:55
  • @g, be careful there can be a lot of hidden changes in the exchange rate. – Ian Aug 17 '10 at 8:13

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