The problems with obtaining cash for your cruise.
Whenever we travel, we also labor over how to best carry money for use when in port. It’s so convenient that the cruise line uses a cashless system onboard.
But, getting money when traveling in foreign countries always presents a problem. First, it is often hard for us to judge exactly how much money we will need while ashore.
We hate carrying large amounts of cash to convert to the local currency and we don’t want to change too much. We always hope that we will be returning to a destination where we seem to have excess currency, but that isn’t always the case.
We did some research and found a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees on purchases. We hated seeing an additional 3% charge on all of our purchases, so did some research and found a Capital One credit card that does not charge extra fees for foreign transactions. We aren’t huge shoppers, but those fees can add up. We are especially thrilled that we didn’t have to pay this surcharge when we purchased a carpet in Turkey.
We solved the problem of fees on credit cards, but exchanging money still posed a problem. Every time we used our debit card, we got slapped with at least one fee. And we didn’t want to use a credit card because a cash withdrawal equals a cash advance in their eyes and we refused to pay the exorbitant rate for a cash advance.
A little bit of research found that Bank of America belongs to the Global ATM Alliance. That means that we could use an ATM at the following banks without a service charge:
Barclays (United Kingdom)
BNP Paribas (France)
China Construction Bank (China)
Deutsche Bank (Germany)
Santander Serfin (Mexico)
Westpac (Australia and New Zealand)
This obviously misses a few countries, but it is a start. HSBC is a bank that we see all over the world, so it may be worth investigating them to find out if they have any charges at foreign locations.
Our only concern now is that we have a six-digit pin. The help desk in India said that we simply use the first four digits of the pin when abroad. We sure hope that is correct.
One last thing to do before travel is to call your credit card bank and let them know that you are traveling so that your card isn’t blocked when charges in foreign countries appear.