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How to bring money for a RTW trip?

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1. Posted by lost again (Budding Member 66 posts) 10y

I leave in a week for an 8 month RTW trip - so what type of money do I bring?
Here is my plan thus far:
-store some US dollars and travelers checks for when I might really need it
-use my ATM card and pull out enough cash (estimating as approximately as possible) at each country I visit to last me my stay there.
-use credit card for only large purchases and just bite the exchange rate fee or international fees.

What do you think? Advice is appreciated.

Thank you!
:):(;)

2. Posted by lost again (Budding Member 66 posts) 10y

One more question:
Does every country's airport have an ATM machine in it? Do most banks world wide let you take out money with your ATM card?

Here is the list of countries: Nz, Oz, China, SE Asia, Europe

3. Posted by davehogge (Budding Member 4 posts) 10y

ATM cards are becoming less dependable. My own bank has suspended transactions in Japan, Korea, Singapore, and some parts of Europe because of fraud. Credit cards still work, but then you're using your card.

I'm still waiting for someone to provide a good solution too. Anyone with ideas?

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

Quoting davehogge

ATM cards are becoming less dependable.

HUH??? ATM cards are a lot more secure than credit cards if you ask me.... I always travel with my ATM card as the primary source of cash and it works fine (provided that you actually find ATMs of course :) ). Credit cards are often not accepted for certain types of purchases (taxis/coffees/small bills etc.), so you need to get cash out at some stage. Advancing on your credit card is ridiculously expensive, whereas taking out cash from your bank account using your ATM card is just 'regular' expensive ;) I never take travellers cheques; they're about 10 years out of date and just a lot of hassle + INSANE fees for not that much extra security. Some back up cash, an ATM card and a credit card for if you are stuck or need to make a big purchase and you should be fine just about anywhere in the world.

You should consider putting one card in one place in your luggage and the other somewhere else so if one bag gets stolen (these things happen ) you still have back up access to money.

'lost again', your plan is just about how I would go about it, except that I would never take out enough cash to cover my entire stay in one country at the beginning (unless you're only spending a few days there). That's asking for trouble if you get robbed and you won't save that much in fees by doing that. I do take out larger amounts than I would back home, but usually around 400 USD at a time max (and share that with the missus these days ).

HtH!

5. Posted by lost again (Budding Member 66 posts) 10y

Thanks, that is helpful!

Karl

6. Posted by davehogge (Budding Member 4 posts) 10y

Sam I AM - European banks may not be cracking down, but my US bank has stopped ATM transaction in Japan. From their web site:

Important Travel Notice
Traveling abroad this summer? A fraud advisory has been issued for individuals visiting the nation of Japan and. This country has recently seen an upswing in fraudulent activity involving services provided by financial institutions, specifically debit/check cards and credit cards.

Also, friends that went to the world cup this year couldn't use their US bank issued ATM card in Germay or Switzerland. They had to have money wired over, and borrow from friends.

I'm planning a trip myself and would be interested to hear from anyone else that has a better solution.

7. Posted by lost again (Budding Member 66 posts) 10y

I am shocked that in Germany in Switzerland US ATM cards can't be used! How are American travelers supposed to get cash in any sort of convenient way there?

Does anyone know of any websites that have up to date information regarding this topic? I have yet to find one.

8. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 10y

Also, friends that went to the world cup this year couldn't use their US bank issued ATM card in Germay or Switzerland. They had to have money wired over, and borrow from friends.

Out of curiosity, did your friends understand the difference in international banking companies?

There are two main ones - PLUS and CIRRUS. On the back of your card it will have one of those symbols. You can only us ATMs that match those symbols. Usually they take both, but sometimes an ATM will only take one or the other. I'm sure there are some banks in the states that may not use either company and therefore don't offer international banking.

And to answer the original question, yes you will find ATM's in all those countries, and all airports. I've never actually been to a Chinese airport, but since I easily found ATM's in all the towns I was in, I'll assume they have them in the airports too.
Last time I was in Laos and Cambodia they didn't have ATM's yet, though it's been 3 years so maybe this has changed. Hopefully someone can give an more recent report. But all the other countries in South East Asia are good to go with ATMs.
Though it's usually fine to travel with just an ATM card, I would recomend taking a few different methods. As someone else said, take two debit cards and carry them separtly. Also carry a couple hundred in US dollars in a real good hidding place, along with a credit card and a few travellers cheques. Usually I arrive home with all my TCs and US cash, but it's a bit of peice of mind to know you have a backup.

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

Quoting davehogge

Important Travel Notice
Traveling abroad this summer? A fraud advisory has been issued for individuals visiting the nation of Japan and. This country has recently seen an upswing in fraudulent activity involving services provided by financial institutions, specifically debit/check cards and credit cards.

I'm still not reading in this that ATM cards won't work?! Debit/checking and credit cards, when used in stores with 'signing' rather than a PIN number as verification could certainly have security issues. Taking out money from an ATM machine using a PIN number has got to be one of the most secure methods out there (aside from forgetting your pin number of course :) ) and I can hardly see banks disabling that!

Like Degolasse mentioned, I'd also be pretty interested in seeing what kind of cards your friends were carrying in Germany/Switzerland and what kind of ATM's they were trying to use. The logos have to match up (I have one with a maestro and cirrus logo which is pretty good) and PLUS isn't used quite as much in Europe I believe (not 100% sure on that, but none of my cards from Norway/NL have it).

10. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 613 posts) 10y

All good advice Karl. I would only add that you should take more than one card, hidden well away somewhere. One of my cards was replaced by the issuer while I was away. They sent a new one to my home in England and cancelled the old one I was using in Australia! I couldn't have the new one sent to me as we were moving on too often.
Also, just in case, I would forget American Express. I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but it seems to have been wiped out in the UK due to the much higher charges they place on retailers for accepting them. Many places simply won't take it any more.