I always get the question, “How much cash should I take when I visit ___________?” I always answer, “It depends.”
Some people are comfortable carrying cash while others would rather wait until they get to their destination and withdraw money. Others aren’t very trusting of using their credit cards overseas or withdrawing money at ATMs.
Here’s what we typically do. Reina works with the bank to purchase some foreign currency. Typically we’ll take a few hundred dollars equivalent of cash. As soon as we get to our destination, we’ll test the ATM to see if it works. Now that the United States is finally upgrading to the EMV standard, which is that little microchip looking thing on your credit or debit card (see below), it will be easier to use cards overseas. We’ve had some pretty significant problems using our cards abroad. You think everything is working great until you get to the ATM and it asks for your five digit PIN. Huh? We don’t have five digit PINs here in the U.S.
Here’s the bottom line for money and traveling. The time of traveler’s checks has passed. You need to have a plan for funds be it cash or credit/debit cards or a combination of both.