Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:09 pm

Son is planning a trip to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. He has no credit card of his own. We have a card that has no international fees that we can get him a card as an authorized user. It is a MC and not sure if that is accepted in that part of the world. He will be in cities mostly. Didn't even know if a card is needed or usable there? Anybody with experience in this region know how things work financially? Guessing he will need cash (USD) to exchange at a bank for a lot of things. What type of fees are associated with ATM debit card withdrawals? Just want to make sure he is financially covered while he is there.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Theseus » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:40 pm

I would say a visa credit card from a good bank is a good idea to have - as a just in case situation. Years ago, I had issues using visa card issued by my credit union when I traveled internationally. I immediately got BofA travel visa card - which has no annual fee. Make sure he always charges in the local currency and not US$ to get the best conversion rate possible.

If you have a fidelity account, you can get a debit card that will reimburse all ATM fees (including foreign ATM charges) and conversion rate is really good. If he uses to buy anything then there is a 1% charge (but not on ATM withdrawals). Having an ATM card limits the need to carry a lot of cash.

Starfish
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Starfish » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:47 pm

I never need a CC, especially in less developed countries, but shouldn't one get a CC way before traveling to Central Asia? As priorities in life I mean.
Where CC might be necessary is at car rental places and sometimes hotels.

The Wizard
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by The Wizard » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:36 pm

Cripes.
You should have certain things no matter where you travel on planet Earth.
Passport, credit cards, an ATM debit card.

Next question...
Attempted new signature...

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:37 pm

He is only 18 and going for his HS graduation present. Otherwise, I would not be involved in this at all. Just want to make sure he doesn't get himself into a bind. Think he has some tour guides/groups lined up. Hopefully they can keep him out of trouble.

lilyn20
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by lilyn20 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:13 pm

I agree that Visa is most commonly accepted, but these days, I am sure MasterCard will also be taken without issue where cards are accepted. Amex is usually the most difficult one. Unless this is a luxury trip, he should plan to get around on a cash basis and save the credit card for emergencies and major purchases (air / train travel, hotels). Some places will definitely give better prices for cash transactions. ATM fees will depend on your bank. Citibank definitely has a presence in Almaty, and while it operates as a different entity than the US company, the ATM network is the same. The other two countries are less developed than Kazakhstan, and so it might be trickier for those parts of the trip.

My general rules of (backpacker) financial management:
--USD - Keep $300-500 in emergency cash (5 20's, the rest 100's) stashed around your person and luggage for times when you can't find an ATM. Ideally, this will never get spent.

--Local - Try to budget out daily expenses between major cities and keep enough local currency to cover the relevant days of food, lodging (if not staying at major hotels), transport and souvenirs (also divided up in safe places). Until he figures out the best banks to use, tell him to be sure to get money when the branches are open to minimize the risk of losing the ATM card in a machine. While the rates aren't generally good, I tend to grab a bit of cash from the airport ATMs upon arrival. They generally expect foreign cards. Study machines closely for evidence of skimmers.

--Credit cards - I travel with at least two in order to keep one stashed in an emergency location in case of theft. In a worse case scenario, I know an airline will take my card and get me home, and I can probably use it in a major hospital. Make sure he has the international phone numbers to cancel the cards in the event of theft or fraud.

Other concerns:
--If you're worried, be sure to register his trip with the State Department. They also have useful information about the destination countries in terms of healthcare options and travel alerts.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by lilyn20 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:16 pm

This blog has money info.

https://caravanistan.com/

nexesn
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by nexesn » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:14 pm

lilyn20 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:13 pm
I agree that Visa is most commonly accepted, but these days, I am sure MasterCard will also be taken without issue where cards are accepted. Amex is usually the most difficult one. Unless this is a luxury trip, he should plan to get around on a cash basis and save the credit card for emergencies and major purchases (air / train travel, hotels). Some places will definitely give better prices for cash transactions. ATM fees will depend on your bank. Citibank definitely has a presence in Almaty, and while it operates as a different entity than the US company, the ATM network is the same. The other two countries are less developed than Kazakhstan, and so it might be trickier for those parts of the trip.

My general rules of (backpacker) financial management:
--USD - Keep $300-500 in emergency cash (5 20's, the rest 100's) stashed around your person and luggage for times when you can't find an ATM. Ideally, this will never get spent.

--Local - Try to budget out daily expenses between major cities and keep enough local currency to cover the relevant days of food, lodging (if not staying at major hotels), transport and souvenirs (also divided up in safe places). Until he figures out the best banks to use, tell him to be sure to get money when the branches are open to minimize the risk of losing the ATM card in a machine. While the rates aren't generally good, I tend to grab a bit of cash from the airport ATMs upon arrival. They generally expect foreign cards. Study machines closely for evidence of skimmers.

--Credit cards - I travel with at least two in order to keep one stashed in an emergency location in case of theft. In a worse case scenario, I know an airline will take my card and get me home, and I can probably use it in a major hospital. Make sure he has the international phone numbers to cancel the cards in the event of theft or fraud.

Other concerns:
--If you're worried, be sure to register his trip with the State Department. They also have useful information about the destination countries in terms of healthcare options and travel alerts.

1+
I second all of this advice.

2 little details I'd include.

-Atm's are generally the best way to exchange money when abroad- they "generally" give you the best exchange rate. And, you aren't walking around with ton's of cash that someone can take from you.

-Make sure that the USD emergency cash is crisp and new. Outside the US, some places don't like old bills. I would also take 10 20's and the rest 100's. But, that just me.

Edit: I'd also purchase a Lonely Planet Guide for the region or places he is going. It's a great resource. There is also the ThornTree forum where you might want to ask more detailed questions about the areas. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/ ... ntral-asia

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lthenderson
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:46 am

One thing to note, credit card theft is pretty rampant in many countries and it took me a few trips to figure this out. Now when using a credit card in questionable countries, I only use it if it never leaves my sight. If a vendor needs to take it in the back room to swipe on the one single machine back there, chances are they will be getting the number and using/selling it later. In those cases, using an ATM and paying in local currency is the way to go. I haven't had my credit card number stolen in several trips now following that rule.

gtd98765
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by gtd98765 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:05 am

The travel.state.gov website has a lot of useful info.

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Watty
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Watty » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:08 am

lilyn20 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:13 pm
.....and I can probably use it in a major hospital.
This is important.

I don't know about those countries but I have heard stories about needing to prepay for medical care in some countries.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:13 am

Most of the info given so far covers CC in most countries. Basic travel money methods. You should go on tripadvisor forums for these countries. There is a wealth of information there. Your son should be reading it too. Small tidbits may come in handy. Read up. Get a book. Basic planning and knowledge before you go. Do not rely solely on this forum.
In regards to the question, do you need a credit card, Yes. All travelers should have a CC. It is basic in today's world. Why would anyone not travel with a CC? You don't have to use it, but it is a resource. So that is the answer to the question you pose.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:39 am

Thanks for all the great info :beer Trip is the end of July so he has plenty of time to study up. Will get him a CC for sure though. Since he is flying to a connection in Russia, looks like he will need a travel visa too. Does he have to go to an embassy to get this?

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by fm3040 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:41 am

Make sure that you call the credit card company in advance and let them know about the travel destinations and dates. This will ensure that the credit card does not get blocked for suspected fraudulent activity.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:50 am

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:39 am
Thanks for all the great info :beer Trip is the end of July so he has plenty of time to study up. Will get him a CC for sure though. Since he is flying to a connection in Russia, looks like he will need a travel visa too. Does he have to go to an embassy to get this?
No. he does not have time. That sounds like procrastination. Look at your additional question. There you go. Research well before. Any Visa will take time. No, he does not have time. You wait, and maybe you learn the hard way and then it is a scramble.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am

Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 am

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
+1

Why?

How about $10k toward college or an iPhone or a MacBook Pro?

Is he going solo or with a group of friends?
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.

OP, the only advice I would give is that when we were last traveling in Kazakhstan we were told not to go to the hospital. This was 12yrs ago so things may have changed. We were told instead to go to the International Medical Clinics, I can't remember exactly what they're called but your son may just want to research if that's still the best course of action should something go wrong.

Hope he has a wonderful time, what an adventure!

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:28 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.
How about legal trouble in general? Especially from recreational drug use?
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

Isabelle77
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:32 am

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:28 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.
How about legal trouble in general? Especially from recreational drug use?
Nope, don't know of a single one. This is a very American way of thinking...that 18yr olds can't handle themselves away from Mom and Dad. It doesn't make sense to me, obviously, you're free to parent as you wish but let's assume that the OP has thought through what she believes HER son is capable of.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Alf 101 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:36 am

There is some good advice here. Having made a couple of trips through Central Asia, a few thoughts:

-- For the most part, cash is going to be king. US dollars, as long as they're not worn and ratty, are what you exchange. It will be worthwhile for him to study how he wants to divide and stash that. Best not to have it all in one place, or be too obvious.

-- It's wise to study the exchange rates in advance, and don't go with the first offer. Particularly at border crossings, he will get some very unfavorable offers -- to him at least. Be ready to negotiate on everything. If he has guides, this will be helpful.

-- I did bring a credit card, which I used at banks for cash advances, and at ATMs -- generally at banks or nice hotels in larger cities; as mentioned, Kazakhstan will be more developed. The credit card offered certain protections, at that time at least, that a debit card did not. Study the cash advance and foreign transaction charges before he goes. I didn't use the credit card for any transactions, like I would in the west. The advice about informing the credit card company of his travel dates, and having the emergency number in an email, is good. It is wise to be wary of fraud.

-- He should be working on the visa requirements right now. IIRC, if he's a US passport holder, no visa should be required for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan he will need a visa; if Turkmenistan ends up on the itinerary, that's more tricky. He should memorize his passport number.

-- If he has an itinerary, a site like Booking.com or similar can be very useful with set dates, arranging accommodations. The three things you worry about as a traveler is finding something to eat, somewhere to stay, and how you'll get to the next place. I remember flying into Tashkent, arriving after midnight, and it was a huge relief to know I had a hotel picking me up. He'll see, searching, that there are any number of inexpensive options.

-- It's good to know a little Russian, or at least be able to read Cyrillic. Toilet, for example, is spelled differently but pronounced the same. This may be changing, but I found Russian was very much a lingua franca. In tourist locations I could find English speakers for sure, but I had a couple of occasions, buying bus tickets or in a train station, where my terrible Russian was just barely enough helpful.

-- Look into travel insurance. You can take out a policy for his trip, that's not prohibitively expensive, that will cover evacuation and medical emergencies.

-- If you're alone, and in a place where you don't speak the language, going out after dark drinking may not be your best move. Many a cautionary tale begins this way.

Not that I want to tell anyone what to do, but I might take a little more interest in some of the details -- confirm that he does have tour guides or groups lined up, talk with him about his itinerary and what he wants to see. Has he traveled much internationally, and by himself? Central Asia may not be the easiest place, but if he's smart and aware, it should be eye opening. You'll have to let us know how it goes...

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:44 am

Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:32 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:28 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.
How about legal trouble in general? Especially from recreational drug use?
Nope, don't know of a single one. This is a very American way of thinking...that 18yr olds can't handle themselves away from Mom and Dad. It doesn't make sense to me, obviously, you're free to parent as you wish but let's assume that the OP has thought through what she believes HER son is capable of.
Just offering something to think about. No need to get all capitalized on me.

Have a great day!
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:45 am

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:44 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:32 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:28 am
Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.
How about legal trouble in general? Especially from recreational drug use?
Nope, don't know of a single one. This is a very American way of thinking...that 18yr olds can't handle themselves away from Mom and Dad. It doesn't make sense to me, obviously, you're free to parent as you wish but let's assume that the OP has thought through what she believes HER son is capable of.


Have a great day!
Same to you!

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by jminv » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:11 am

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:09 pm
Son is planning a trip to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. He has no credit card of his own. We have a card that has no international fees that we can get him a card as an authorized user. It is a MC and not sure if that is accepted in that part of the world. He will be in cities mostly. Didn't even know if a card is needed or usable there? Anybody with experience in this region know how things work financially? Guessing he will need cash (USD) to exchange at a bank for a lot of things. What type of fees are associated with ATM debit card withdrawals? Just want to make sure he is financially covered while he is there.
He needs to be careful in Uzbekistan and Krygyzstan and where he goes within those countries. City, fine. Has he ever travelled by himself before? If not this is a bit of an out there trip. Not Kazakhstan, but the others. Is there a reason why he is interested in these areas? I remember he wanted to go to a university in Kazakhstan.

Make sure he has two cards. Since you have a no foreign transaction fee mastercard, consider also getting a visa. That way it will be accepted more broadly. Many places where he will spend money will not take cards. He can't rely on credit cards. You need to get him a no fee ATM card so he can withdraw cash. I'd recommend Schwab because I've used it in some really random places worldwide and never had a block. Don't bring very large quantities of physicial USD. Better to rely more on ATM. Bring some cash, few hundred dollars for conversion and otherwise, withdraw cash from ATM at airport, upmarket hotels, bank, etc. Get cash when you're in a major city since not likely to be outside. I know that in Krygyzstan it can take some time to find one.

For the physical cash, I'd bring new dollars to ensure conversion. If your bank doesn't have new bills available, you should get dollars that have no tears at all or marks and that are post-2006, ie, pristine bills.

Make sure he gets a sim card for his cell phone in each country so he can be connected, find things more easily, check back in with you, and generally have a better time in the country.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by 02nz » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:35 pm

Credit cards are very widely accepted in major cities in Kazakhstan, less so in the other two, though hotels catering to foreigners will certainly take them. Back in the day, there was a large black market in Uzbekistan for foreign currency, so it was much cheaper to change on the black market and pay in cash to the hotels rather than with a credit card at the official rate, but I understand this has been eliminated. (Watching Uzbeks count cash quickly was truly remarkable!)

ATMs are widespread in Kazakhstan; I'm less sure about the other two but believe there are plenty of ATMs there, too. I've found that (even though the logos matched) my U.S. ATM card didn't work nearly as consistently in Central Asia as it did, say, in Western Europe or East Asia, so I'd recommend carrying two different banks' ATM cards and having a backup plan, like USD cash.

A little bit of Russian will really make a big difference in all three countries. English is spoken by few people in Kazakhstan, even fewer in the other two.

Culturally and historically, Uzbekistan has the most to offer, especially Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Kyrgyzstan is great for lovers of nature and the outdoors. Kazakhstan has its own share of interesting things, but not necessarily the same immediate appeal. Almaty is a very pleasant city, maybe the most pleasant in Central Asia, and it's likely he'd fly through there at some point anyway.

Lufthansa flies to Astana and Almaty and Turkish flies to all the major cities in Central Asia. Flying via Moscow is no longer an option for most Americans, as you need a visa just to transit. You can also fly to/from Central Asia via China - Urumqi is about 2-3 hours' flight from Almaty, Bishkek, or Tashkent. Kazakhstan's Air Astana is a very good and reliable airline. Uzbekistan Airways is not bad. I'd avoid any Kyrgyz airline though.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Starfish » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Isn't that why "kinds nowadays" are not trustworthy? Because they grow up in bubbles to an age at which my grandparents had several big kids already?

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:16 pm

Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Isn't that why "kinds nowadays" are not trustworthy? Because they grow up in bubbles to an age at which my grandparents had several big kids already?
You nailed it. :beer
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Starfish » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:19 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
+1

Why?

How about $10k toward college or an iPhone or a MacBook Pro?
Or videogames, or cocaine...
Usually is the kids who want stupid stuff and parents try to hold them back and steer them towards intellectual development. I see now that is possible otherwise.

Starfish
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Starfish » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:20 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:16 pm
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Isn't that why "kinds nowadays" are not trustworthy? Because they grow up in bubbles to an age at which my grandparents had several big kids already?
You nailed it. :beer
Well then, the solution is to let them do things o their own, even if there is some risk involved.

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samsoes
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:41 pm

Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:20 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:16 pm
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Isn't that why "kinds nowadays" are not trustworthy? Because they grow up in bubbles to an age at which my grandparents had several big kids already?
You nailed it. :beer
Well then, the solution is to let them do things o their own, even if there is some risk involved.
Well,.maybe they should start off in a domestic location like Florida or hiking in Colorado rather than Uzbekistan. Just sayin. :mrgreen:
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

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Conch55
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Conch55 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:07 pm

I have traveled in two of those countries on more than one occasion, while mostly on business, and used a credit card. I also exchanged money via ATM and never had an issue. Cash was more useful around town but a CC was important in hotels/accommodations. I'd say use good judgement and enjoy the area; I did.

retired recently
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by retired recently » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:07 pm

I lived in Almaty for two years and traveled pretty extensively in Kazakhstan. He definitely should have a credit card. As long as he has traveled before and uses his head he will be fine and have a great time.

I also lived in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan and Russia. If I were going to the area I would highly recommend Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, then Turkmenistan, in that order. Maybe Uzbekistan too although I really only spent time in Tashkent.

It all depends on what he is looking for. If it is nature, then Kazakhstan probably does make sense.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:12 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.

...

Hope he has a wonderful time, what an adventure!
+1. This is the same forum that got severely worked up a few years ago about someone's daughter taking a road trip across America. I believe armed guards were suggested at one point.

Anyway, OP would be best advised to consult travel forums such as Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet for on-the-ground status updates, not a bunch of armchair killjoys. I do know Uzbekistan has relaxed visa regulations in recent months, which makes it more enticing. If it's too difficult getting a Russian transit visa, OP's son might be advised to fly via Turkish.

quantAndHold
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:18 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:41 pm
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:20 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:16 pm
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Isn't that why "kinds nowadays" are not trustworthy? Because they grow up in bubbles to an age at which my grandparents had several big kids already?
You nailed it. :beer
Well then, the solution is to let them do things o their own, even if there is some risk involved.
Well,.maybe they should start off in a domestic location like Florida or hiking in Colorado rather than Uzbekistan. Just sayin. :mrgreen:
All three of these countries are considered safe for Americans, even if they aren’t countries that most Americans think to go to first.

We know nothing about the kid, his background, or the details of the trip he’s taking. But I do trust the parents to know their own kid and know whether he’s capable of successfully doing the trip.

Just sayin’.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:49 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Some “kids” that age are given guns, training, and then sent off to war at that age. Others start companies. But I certainly know teenagers (in my own family) that at this age were not mature or experienced enough for a solo trip abroad (it would be their first trip on their own anywhere). The parents hopefully know best.

Assuming the OP’s son is mature enough for this trip, two credit cards with different banks. Visa and MasterCard should both be fine. ATM card for cash withdrawals. Cellphone with local service. Perhaps with Google FI (check if they have coverage). Scanned passport copy on the phone. If available, bring passport card as secondary/backup ID. Contact information for US embassy/consulate in the phone. Register trip with State Department/Embassy (https://step.state.gov/STEPMobile/Default.aspx).

And yes, sort out visas now.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:31 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:18 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:41 pm
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:20 pm
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:16 pm
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 pm


Isn't that why "kinds nowadays" are not trustworthy? Because they grow up in bubbles to an age at which my grandparents had several big kids already?
You nailed it. :beer
Well then, the solution is to let them do things o their own, even if there is some risk involved.
Well,.maybe they should start off in a domestic location like Florida or hiking in Colorado rather than Uzbekistan. Just sayin. :mrgreen:
All three of these countries are considered safe for Americans, even if they aren’t countries that most Americans think to go to first.

We know nothing about the kid, his background, or the details of the trip he’s taking. But I do trust the parents to know their own kid and know whether he’s capable of successfully doing the trip.

Just sayin’.
Glad to hear ya just sayin!
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by FRT15 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:45 pm

I enjoyed my time in these 3. I started in Uzbekistan. I didn't have any luck with ATMs or with banks willing to exchange. Ended up going with a local to a bazaar where they changed my money. I got twice the rate Google said was correct. I was fortunate to have a local who knew some English and wanted to help. The other two countries didn't want Uzbekistan currency and therefore offered next to nothing for it. Maybe it has changed since this was over 3 years ago.

Invest4lt
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Invest4lt » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:01 pm

Most airlines are now cashless, so a credit card would certainly be a good thing for buying meals and snacks while in the air.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by traveler901 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:59 am

When going to a developing country, one should always have:

1. US Dollars which can be used to exchange for local currency, or in a bind can often be used as a direct payment if you ask
2. ATM Card to take out local currency
3. Credit Card (hotels, emergency)

When I go to a developed country (Western Europe for example), I don't take cash and just pull out local currency with my ATM card.

retired recently
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by retired recently » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:14 am

Generally speaking if you are using hard currency, new US Dollars are the easiest to exchange. One hundred dollar bills are the best. You can sometimes exchange other Former Soviet Union currencies but I would not want to count on it.

When I lived in Turkmenistan, there was the official rate of 5200 manat to the USD and the black market rate of 18-19,000 manat to the USD...and many things were very cheap. I think the largest manat bill was only 1,000. I remember carrying a backpack with the equivalent of about 50 to 100 USD. Too many bills to keep in your pocket.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by fund » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:31 pm

It's been 20 years since I've been there, so my experience is outdated by the looks of earlier posts, but there were no ATMs when I was there, and no one accepted credit cards - cash was it, and it was bricks of cash. Literally bricks. The black market was definitely a thing, and of course it paid a better rate, but an earlier post indicates that that no longer exists.

The people I met were incredibly kind and gracious and welcoming, and the history and culture are simply incredible. I had an absolutely amazing time. But some areas weren't the safest back then, so you had to be a little careful of what you were doing and where you were going, though perhaps that's changed.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Starfish » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:07 pm

If anything the safety issue probably changed for the worst.

quantAndHold
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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:39 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:07 pm
If anything the safety issue probably changed for the worst.
The US state department rates all three countries as level one (exercise normal precautions). They’re probably safer than a lot of places in the US.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Trism » Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:32 am

When I travel outside the US I always take at least four credit cards (V/MC).

I keep two with me, and keep two elsewhere (hotel safe, or inside the liner of my luggage) in case the two I carry are lost or stolen.

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Re: Trip to Central Asia. Do you need a CC?

Post by Traveler » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:13 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:26 am
samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:51 am
Trusting an 18 year-old on a trip like this would give me pause. There's a part of a young person's brain that doesn't fully develop until about age 25: the area of "sober second thought." It's the "wait a minute, lets think this through" process when a person is about to do something foolish. Not having this part of the brain developed has gotten many a young person in a heap of trouble. In a foreign country, he could easily become a candidate for a future episode of Locked Up Abroad.

Just saying. Be careful.
Oh for goodness sakes. European kids (and Australian and Canadian) regularly travel the world in their late teens and twenties, very very few of them wind up on reality tv.

OP, the only advice I would give is that when we were last traveling in Kazakhstan we were told not to go to the hospital. This was 12yrs ago so things may have changed. We were told instead to go to the International Medical Clinics, I can't remember exactly what they're called but your son may just want to research if that's still the best course of action should something go wrong.

Hope he has a wonderful time, what an adventure!
I don't think this comment is unwarranted given that the parent of the 18 year old asked a very basic question about international travel. Given that, I assume the kid nor the parents travel much and for an 18-year old to do his first solo trip to central Asia being a bit concerned doesn't seem out of line. Hopefully he is a responsible, mature young man that ends up having a wonderful time abroad.

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