This is a guest post from Tom of the website ActiveBackpacker.
Whenever you head off overseas, it’s always important that you have a solid plan in place as to how you are going to be withdrawing cash from the ATM’s over there, and how you are going to access your money in general.
If you don’t, you will find that the fees and costs will add up faster than you can blink.
I’ve travelled and backpacked Europe extensively, so I can definitely help out and provide a few decent tips when it comes to withdrawing money without burning a hole in your budget.
The real problems with most bank cards or credit cards when you are withdrawing funds from an overseas country are that they will charge you all sorts of fees. These fees will generally include: Foreign currency conversion fees, cash advance fees AS WELL AS international transaction fees.
All of these fees will really add up, so the best trick is to simply find a product that will provide you at least 2 of those 3 fees for free.
I personally have a travel credit card which charges me none of those fees (the best solution- but I need to ensure I am always paying off my card), but not everyone has access to something like that.
So don’t just use your local bank card, I’m telling you right now there is a great chance the fees incurred by yourself will be simply ridiculous. Shop around, and find a card that is going to provide you with some major advantages for withdrawing funds in another country.
Don’t bother with traveler’s checks. They are antiquated and a waste of time – everywhere in Europe will have ATM’s with the Visa or MasterCard symbols (or look for the one that has MAESTRO or CIRRUS on it).
I also carry around two points of access to my money back home, so I’ll bring along a bank card as a back up to my travel credit card for example. I suggest you don’t store these in the same place as each other (for obvious reasons – in case you lose one!).
If you can ultimately get a card that is low on foreign conversion and cash advance fees, you are going to be way ahead of the pack. It also means you can withdraw LESS from the ATM (because you are not being charged ridiculous amounts for each withdrawal) thus reducing the risk of carrying and losing lots of cash whilst traveling.
Anyway it’s all a little bit common sense, but I hope this article has provided some valuable tips when it comes to how to go about accessing your money whilst traveling Europe.