Author Topic: Cash for cycling trips  (Read 6262 times)

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Offline carolbergson

Cash for cycling trips
« on: May 04, 2012, 12:51:32 pm »
Hello out there.  We have traveled a number of times for less than a month on our bikes and are now planning a 9-month   "biking sabbatical."  We will be in Italy, Australia and New Zealand primarily, maybe Thailand if our kids move there.  Any suggestions on how to have cash available other than ATMs and cashier's cheques.  Has anyone tried having dollars sent to them by family?  Any other suggestions?  We really don't want to pay the transaction fees on debit cards and the like.  Thanks for any suggestions. 

Offline Twoteller

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 06:42:53 pm »
I wouldn't have cash mailed to me. That would be too risky (in my opinion) and more inconvenient than just withdrawing from the ATM. Maybe you can open an account here at a bank that has many ATMs where you plan to travel?

Offline DaveB

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 12:05:33 pm »
Mastercard and Visa credit cards are accepted almost everywhere and if you pick the right one there is no annual fee.  You could prepay the account to avoid interest charges if you can't pay the monthly statement by internet.   As to "transaction fees", a debit card can't be as bad as the exchange rate and commissions charged by currency exchange shops and even local banks.

Offline windrath

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 12:41:26 pm »
In addition to what DaveB suggestions (which I agree with), look for VISA or MasterCard that do not charge a currency exchange fee since you will be travelling in a country other than the one the card was issued in.  For the United States, Capital One does not charge a currency exchange fee when I travel in Canada.

These fees can sometimes amount to 3-4% and can add up.

Good Luck - sounds like a nice trip.

Offline Tim

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 02:24:07 pm »
I'm using VISA gift cards.  Good as cash and even accepted on the (US) Navajo Reservation.  I also usually stop at random ATMs and pull out $40.00 cash just in case.
A Ride Dedicated
The Unconditional Sacrifices Made Every Day.

Offline dfege

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 05:02:21 pm »
I have found that the big banks in the United States partner with  banks in other countries to use ATM's without a fee. In Canada for example, Bank of America partners with Scotia.  You also want to check with your credit card company and your bank to see how exchange rates are caculated and, for credit cards, to see if there are additional fees.  In Canada, my U.S. Visa credit card charged a 3% fee for every transaction.  (I didn't know this until I returned home and saw the extra charge on my bill for every transaction).  Had I known that, I probably would have relied a lot more on getting cash from Scotia ATM's, rather than using my credit card so frequently.

In addition, some countries require the use of the pin number for credit cards, something that is not required in the U.S.

Offline DaveB

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 09:57:02 pm »
One more thing, in most countries restaurants, hotels and other businesses, particularly small businesses, can't or won't accept dollars or currency other than their own so a credit card or debit card is essential unless you convert you US money to the local money in every country.   One benefit to the Euro is several European countries use it so there is no currency change needed when going between them.   

Offline csykes

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 02:36:22 pm »
Definitely use your cards for purchases to conserve cash. Get cash back at most grocery stores with no debit card fee when using a PIN. You do get a favorable rate compared to paper currency exchanging here or abroad.  My credit union charges $1.50 for non-coop network ATMs which are free all over US and Canada.  In addition the foreign currency fee is 1% which is very reasonable.  If you are going to pay an ATM fee, withdraw as much as possible as it reduces the effect of the fee.  When we travel in Europe, the ATM fees are probably the cheapest cost of the whole trip.

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Cash for cycling trips
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 09:17:53 am »
I presume that you are American so cannot advise on the best credit/debit card for foreign ATM use but here in the UK there are a couple that do not pass on the fee for foreign ATM use and there might be some in the US that do the same, others may be able to help here.
At least try and find out the lowest fees charged and go with that card. I have cycled/motorcycled in many parts of the world and have found using ATMs to be the best way of getting money, take out as much as possible each time and keep a couple of hundred dollars emergency cash which can usually be changed anywhere.