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Travel Budget, Money Matters, Financial Talk Mom, can I borrow ten grand?! Gimme yo mastercard! How the heck can I pay for my trip?! Ideas for making money. How much dough do I need?

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Old 06-16-2006, 10:18 AM   #1
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I know ATM cards are more convenient, and not as much as a hassle as travelers checks, but what if I loose one? You can get lost checks back in a day, and I hear ATM cards take a while to get the lost money back. If I have most of my funds in ATM and I loose it for a month or so, thats going to be really inconvenient. What's the real story on the protection either of them have?

There's such an overwhelming support of ATM accounts here, but what really do they offer besides being able to go to an ATM and getting the money? How better are exchange rates? If one gets a T. check down at AAA they don't charge any money, and post offices don't charge much if any to redeem them. From what I've been hearing out of this site travelers checks are the way to go, but it's the opposite here, why?
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:09 AM   #2
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ATM. Hands down. Best exchange rates, no commission to get cash, etc.

However, it's good to have a couple hundred dollars/pounds/euro in travellers cheques to hold you over just in case your wallet gets snagged. Ugh.
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:05 AM   #3
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You could set up two different bank accounts and get two ATM cards. Just keep one stashed in a safe place in your pack. If you have a credit card, get a PIN for it and that can also be a backup to be used at any ATM. There are a lot of ways to cover yourself and not have to deal with the hassles of Traveler's checks.
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:48 PM   #4
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ATM ATM ATM.

I went only with an ATM card and a few hundred in emergency cash.

My friend went only with cash and was constantly getting screwed at exchange rate places.

I always got that moments exchange rate, paid no fees, and never had to look for more then a few minutes for an ATM or ask someone at the hostel/train station/wherever.
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:54 PM   #5
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Here is one example.

My friend who went with cash was in Prague and needed some cash quickly so we could get dinner.

We want to an exchange place in the tourist area. My friend converted $102 in cash to czech crowns at about 18.53 crowns to the dollar. Giving him 1890 crowns.

If I had went to the ATM that was 2 minutes from the hostel and wanted money, I would get 22.6 crowns to the dollar (the current exchange rate). I would have got 2305 crowns. My friend lost 415 crowns or $18. And that was just on one transfer!

Exchange rate places make money by giving you LESS than the current exchange rate. The difference is their profit and your loss. ATMs may only take $2 or $3 as a service fee or none at all. No ATM charges an $18 service fee.

Be smart, use the ATM.
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:23 PM   #6
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I never considered anything other than an ATM card. It was hassle-free, and convienent all over the place!
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Old 06-28-2006, 03:13 PM   #7
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ATM without a doubt.

I took 2 atm cards from different accounts and a credit card, so if i lost one i would never have been in any trouble.

Traveller's cheques are a pain in the arse and you get ripped every time you cash them. Also, depending on what countries you go to, finding a place that will cash/take your traveller's cheques can be extremely difficult.
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Old 07-15-2006, 05:48 PM   #8
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OK, here's my problem:

I'm coming to Europe from America. Unlike the average traveller, in America I have no credit or bank accounts. All I have is cash. When I go to Europe in about 10 days I plan on staying indefinitely (and probably picking up work while there when I run out of savings).
What is the best way for me to avoid getting screwed on exchange rates and fees???
Should I (& can I?) put my dollars into a European bank when I get there and use a European debit or ATM card? If so, which country would work best. Or should I just get TC's here in America and take them with me? Yeah, I know TC's are a hassle and hard to use in eastern Europe which is where I plan to spend most of my time, but apparently American Express has places in Europe that cash them in for no charge. Wouldn't that then be cheaper than ATM's?

Sorry if these are dumb questions but my brain fails me when it comes to money issues and I need to figure out what I'm going to do really soon.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-15-2006, 08:16 PM   #9
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Get a reloadable visa "gift card" from just about any bank and make sure that it works as ATM as well. Otherwise you can go to a bank and open a free checking account and get a debit card...

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Old 07-16-2006, 09:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Should I (& can I?) put my dollars into a European bank when I get there and use a European debit or ATM card? If so, which country would work best.
Different countries will have different rules on this, but it will likely be very difficult for you to open an account in Europe if you do not have a job, work permit/visa and/or a permanent residence (apartment or the like). If you get settled somewhere and get a job, it may be possible but if you plan on being a wanderer for awhile, it will be difficult.

If you cannot open a bank account in the U.S. for whatever reason, traveler's checks are probably your safest option, though they may be a hassle at times.

Good luck.
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Old 07-17-2006, 04:36 PM   #11
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I have a similar problem and need some advice. I'm planning on living in Sweden for a year and doing some backpacking around Europe while there. I'm taking 2 debit cards from two different accounts. (One is where my mom lives and the other is where my father lives, just in case I need some moolah, one of them can help me out in emergencies).

Anyway when I travel I plan to take one of my debit cards (and emergency cash). What I want to know is what is better:

1. For daily spending should I take just my debt card and the equivalent of ten bucks in Euros

or

2. Take the card and every 3-5 days pull out how much I need for that time frame from an atm. (I would stash the extra in my money belt).

Basically is it better/cheapier to make everyday purcheses with the debit or in Euros (or whatever the currency is where I will be traveling?)

Thanks guys!
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by patchouli Lover@Jul 17 2006, 03:36 PM
I have a similar problem and need some advice. I'm planning on living in Sweden for a year and doing some backpacking around Europe while there. I'm taking 2 debit cards from two different accounts. (One is where my mom lives and the other is where my father lives, just in case I need some moolah, one of them can help me out in emergencies).

Anyway when I travel I plan to take one of my debit cards (and emergency cash). What I want to know is what is better:

1. For daily spending should I take just my debt card and the equivalent of ten bucks in Euros

or

2. Take the card and every 3-5 days pull out how much I need for that time frame from an atm. (I would stash the extra in my money belt).

Basically is it better/cheapier to make everyday purcheses with the debit or in Euros (or whatever the currency is where I will be traveling?)

Thanks guys!
[snapback]131353[/snapback]
2nd option of course. some debit cards do have fees attached. Best to take out more and have money on you (tip: stash in money belt and somewhere else) rather than constantly look for machines.

Note to others: most places in europe don't accept Travellers cheques and charge heavy commission to cash unless you're at an American Express office. Totally useless.
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Old 07-17-2006, 11:45 PM   #13
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Ditto for option two - it makes much more sense to pay with cash and to take it out in a lump every couple of days. Apart from the transaction fee issues, this also helps cut down on the risk of credit card fraud/identity theft. We lived in Lithuania for two years, and once a week would toddle down to the ATM for our weekly supply of cash.

Also, be sure to notify your bank that you will be traveling and taking money out in different places, as that's one of the clues they look for when tracking for fraud. We once had a frantic phone call from our bank when they noticed withdrawals in Lithuania and Italy on the same day!

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