Newbie international traveler

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Shallowpockets
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:59 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:41 am
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:36 am
I use a Scwab debit card. Reimbursed ATM fees. However, I am writing this to address security that many people have about their cards.
I plan on the approximate amount I will need to withdraw in total per ATM during a trip. I only have about that amount plus a buffer in the account. Should the ATM card be compromised I am then only liable for that maximum amount. Usually $2k is sufficient to cover my costs. So it my account is drained for any reason that is all it will be.
Great info!!!!
I have a Schwab brokerage account. Will inquire about the card.
Do such ATM cards work globally?
Yes, the Scwab card works globally. I have used it in Europe, Africa, SE Asia. I also have a brokerage account. I do not have anything in it but money and it is seperate from the debit card account. If I need more money in my debit account I transfer from the brokerage to the debit.

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:40 pm

dsmclone wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:54 am
A couple of things.

1. Unless your credit card issues different numbers for each credit card, I always give my wife one credit card and I keep the other. For awhile I thought I was being ridiculous, then my wife lost her wallet in Belgium. I also make copies of our passport and put them in a cloud app like Google Drive.

2. I never had a problem using ATM's until about 2 trips ago. My card kept getting declined and I couldn't figure out why. I later figured it out that I was trying to pull out more than the maximum. Know your limits and convert them to Euro.

3. I always hear about how important it is to have a credit card with chip and pin. This hasn't been my experience. I will say that almost everywhere seems to accept cardless payments so using something like Google Wallet works wonderful.

4. Orange holiday SIM card worked wonderful.
What is this for?
Thanks.

BeneIRA
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by BeneIRA » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:50 pm

Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:50 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:20 am
whodidntante wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:54 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:49 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:08 pm
In Germany, you'll need cash outside of really nice restaurants and hotels. Since I tend not to eat at very nice restaurants, I need lots of cash.

I have used my Fidelity CMA card to get cash overseas dozens of times. They did shut off my card twice. So:
1) make sure you call to set a travel notification. Unfortunately there is no way to do this online, in spite of me making fun of them for it each time I call.
2) bring at least one backup ATM card
ATM card as in Debit Card?
Not all ATM cards are debit cards. Debit usually refers to the ability to use the Visa/Mastercard network for purchases and debit card cash advances.
Thanks.
I am a bit old school and have not used an ATM machine since I don't know.
What are the safest ATM cards to use for travel?
Money belts are a target for pickpockets not a way to defend against them!
Can you tell if someone is wearing a money belt under their clothes?

Starfish
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by Starfish » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:33 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:50 pm

Can you tell if someone is wearing a money belt under their clothes?

Yes. If he looks like an older American, he is probably wearing a money belt. In crowded places (public transportation) people touch each other so one can easily test.
I also can tell from far away a large percentage of Americans.

Scrapr
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by Scrapr » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:01 am

Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:48 pm
Scrapr wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:13 pm
Our neighbor kid is doing study abroad in Florence. She was "studying" (having a latte) at an outdoor cafe when a woman came up & waved a newspaper in her face. Leaves with her phone. The student next to her was fast enough to grab her own phone before the woman got it too. Made our neighbor very upset.
So they saw her? Why they did not recover the phones on the spot?
I just heard 2nd hand. Knowing her they were oblivious to the surroundings

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BroIceCream
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Location: California

Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by BroIceCream » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:45 am

All great replies... good advice for all. Some other hints that have helped me...
  • I get initial cash prior to departure at local bank . This seeds my wallet for initial taxi, meals, or other unexpected expenses which I encounter before I get to hotel or ATM (ex. Bank of America or other similar bank <https://www.bankofamerica.com/foreign-e ... xchange.go> )
    They also "buy back" any paper currency after I return home, and much better rates than airports provide
  • If I am staying in hotels, I look for some US brands (Radisson Blu, BestWestern, etc.). These typically follow USA relaxed rules for cancellation policies, sometimes even same day, with no cancel fee. Very useful if you spontaneously change plans. Most european hotel chains or local hotels have much more stringent cancellation periods, and also charge fees. check the fine print when you book.
  • If renting a vehicle, I've found AmEx to have the best, and most comprehensive coverage for auto rental insurance. Fixed rate $25 per trip up to (not per day), $17 if CA resident. It is the only reason I have an AmEx card, and has saved me hundreds of dollars over two trips due to rock chips, and [frivolus] charges due to rim damage. My US insurance doesn't cover foreign travel, and basic "secondary" coverage included with most Visa/MC cards doesn't help much. https://feeservices.americanexpress.com ... ge/home.do

gtd98765
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by gtd98765 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:01 am

Lots of good advice here. One thing that has not been mentioned: Germany is very serious about passports being signed; sometimes German immigration will actually put Americans back on the plane home since they arrived without a valid (signed) passport. Take out your passports right now and make sure you signed them on the appropriate line opposite the photo page.

criticalmass
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by criticalmass » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:32 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:41 am
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:36 am
I use a Scwab debit card. Reimbursed ATM fees. However, I am writing this to address security that many people have about their cards.
I plan on the approximate amount I will need to withdraw in total per ATM during a trip. I only have about that amount plus a buffer in the account. Should the ATM card be compromised I am then only liable for that maximum amount. Usually $2k is sufficient to cover my costs. So it my account is drained for any reason that is all it will be.
Great info!!!!
I have a Schwab brokerage account. Will inquire about the card.
Do such ATM cards work globally?
When you inquire be sure to ask about the Schwab Checking debit card vs brokerage. If a bank account debit/ATM card is on the Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus network among others, yes it will work globally. Schwab debit card is on the Visa/Plus/Interlink international networks. In many cases you should tell your bank where to expect usage in advance. Capital One no longer requires this.

The exchange rate you receive by using the Schwab (or Fidelity or Capital One) cards for ATM cash is much better than you will find at a bank or other change location. Be sure to decline any options for converting currency on the ATM screen and withdrawal in small amounts. If you find an excess amount of foreign currency on your departure, keep it for your next trip or exchange it with an acquaintance who will travel to the same currency zone.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:01 am

criticalmass wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:32 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:41 am
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:36 am
I use a Scwab debit card. Reimbursed ATM fees. However, I am writing this to address security that many people have about their cards.
I plan on the approximate amount I will need to withdraw in total per ATM during a trip. I only have about that amount plus a buffer in the account. Should the ATM card be compromised I am then only liable for that maximum amount. Usually $2k is sufficient to cover my costs. So it my account is drained for any reason that is all it will be.
Great info!!!!
I have a Schwab brokerage account. Will inquire about the card.
Do such ATM cards work globally?
When you inquire be sure to ask about the Schwab Checking debit card vs brokerage. If a bank account debit/ATM card is on the Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus network among others, yes it will work globally. Schwab debit card is on the Visa/Plus/Interlink international networks. In many cases you should tell your bank where to expect usage in advance. Capital One no longer requires this.

The exchange rate you receive by using the Schwab (or Fidelity or Capital One) cards for ATM cash is much better than you will find at a bank or other change location. Be sure to decline any options for converting currency on the ATM screen and withdrawal in small amounts. If you find an excess amount of foreign currency on your departure, keep it for your next trip or exchange it with an acquaintance who will travel to the same currency zone.
Wow!!!
Thanks.
Will do it.
:D

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WestUniversity
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:27 am

Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by WestUniversity » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:47 pm

I NEVER use a wallet in Europe. Pickpockets and gypsies are everywhere in the cities. Particularly where large crowds gather, on subways, trains, busses and crowded events (indoors or outdoors).

Use a money belt. And if any of your cards are RFID get an RFID money belt...

dcabler
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Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by dcabler » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:57 pm

createplayact wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:17 am
The wife and I are taking our first international vacation (Switzerland / Germany). Here's the advice I gathered online over the past few weeks, which also led me to the Fidelity Cash Management Account.

1. There's no need to stuff my wallet with foreign currency before leaving and pay high conversion fees in the States. I can just use ATMs to pull local currency once over there.
2. I'll use the Fidelity Debit card linked to my CMM account to withdraw local currency with no ATM fee and low currency exchange fees.
3. Credit card use at local restaurants, etc isn't as common as in the States. I should plan to pay for more with cash. I do have a no-fee CC to use if possible.
4. I bought an international SIM card for my wife to use pre-paid data on her phone. (I'll have full capabilities for text / talk / data with Verizon on my work phone).

Sound reasonable as far as this working well? Any other key things I'm missing?
Not bad. A couple of pointers
- Don't forget to inform your cc company where exactly you will be traveling. That said, I've still had cases where my card didn't work for one reason or another. Two cards that always work: My employer's chip&pin card and my own American Express Card - A card I keep wanting to get rid of, but can't seem to ever do.
- When using a credit card, you will often be given the option of paying in US$ vs. local currency. Decline the option of paying in US$ as the exchange rate is usually pretty bad.

Enjoy!

Jeff Albertson
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Location: Springfield

Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by Jeff Albertson » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:19 pm

Out of the 500 million Europeans, how many wear money belts? I'd guess pretty close to zero.
Think Rick Steves wears a money belt? https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/d ... 913613001/

Leave anything you can't afford to lose at home. Each day, carry only the cash you expect to spend. There are advantages to having backup credit and debit cards. The petty criminals target the major tourist sites, including public transportation. That's where the tourists congregate. Any decent guidebook will discuss safety practices peculiar to the area you're visiting.

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kramer
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Location: Philippines

Re: Newbie international traveler

Post by kramer » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:20 pm

Scrapr wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:01 am
Starfish wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:48 pm
Scrapr wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:13 pm
Our neighbor kid is doing study abroad in Florence. She was "studying" (having a latte) at an outdoor cafe when a woman came up & waved a newspaper in her face. Leaves with her phone. The student next to her was fast enough to grab her own phone before the woman got it too. Made our neighbor very upset.
So they saw her? Why they did not recover the phones on the spot?
I just heard 2nd hand. Knowing her they were oblivious to the surroundings
This recently happened to my American niece inside a cafe in Madrid (and not close to the exit door). Waved a map in her face talking some gibberish, grabbed her phone without her realizing. All in a very safe area where one wouldn't expect crime. At police station to report it, there were other similar victims there.

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