I'm sure this has been discussed somewhere but I can't find it....so if someone can give me a link, that would be great.
My questions are (for traveling in Bulgaria, Romania, Czech, Hungary, Russia ANS South America (Arg, Braz, Peru, Chile):
1. Is it wise to take along a Visa Debit Card? Is this accepted payment in these countries?
2. How about Travelers Cheques? Accepted in big stores, hotels? Easy to cash in banks?
What the recommended ways of payment.
1. Cash for sure....but don't want to keep too much on me
2. Bank ATM card...yip, good idea...but do ATM's use the 6 pin or 4 pin password?
3. Are credit cards accepted across these countries in the usual places (large retail places, hotels, train booking).
In summary, what is the best combination for these countries: 1) Cash, 2) Credit Card 3) TC's ...others e.g Debit Card?
Thanks for any advice or the apprpriate link.
For South America...
Take an ATM card. I use a 4 digit ATM card in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina without a problem. Not sure on the 6 digit cards. PLUS and CIRRUS machines were plentiful.
Visa is accepted in some places, but not a whole lot. Usually it has to be a larger, more expensive establishment to use the credit card. Cash is usually a better bet, because you never know when the credit card will be accepted.
I went down with $US 700 in travellers cheques and came back with $US 650 in travellers cheques. The only place I used them was at the airport in Chile to pay my arrival tax. I don't think they are worthwhile if you have an ATM card.
try always larger purchases on your card - when taking cash advance you are charged for this service
and better still, but money on your credit card BEFORE you leave. That way any money you do take out you are not paying the interest on.
Now that I've done a 42 country trip in the past 1.5 year.....let me answer my own question!~ Dont take TC. Take some USD cash as backup, but take credit cards and an HSBC and CitiBank card! Latter must have 4 digits which is important in some places like Russia if I remember correct. HSBC is the world's biggest bank (not sure by what criteria)...but they are about everywhere...and so is CitiBank. Forget about Standard Chartered. I found sometimes they (SCB) dont even take their own card (ATM message: Cant make contact with you bank!) but they take the CitiBank card.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 16, 2007, at 5:54 PM by webcrawler ]