Overseas Travel

Do a trip report here....go to another city and want to relate it to what KC is doing right or could do better? Give us a summary in here.
mlind
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby mlind » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:08 pm

I do remember the article saying that one US bank did offer the new cards, but I can't remember which one it is. :(

My Austrian friend who lives in the US keeps a bank account in Austria so he can have a European ATM.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby LenexatoKCMO » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:19 pm

mlind wrote:I do remember the article saying that one US bank did offer the new cards, but I can't remember which one it is. :(


I remember reading this too but I think they quit doing it unless it has made a recent return. 

Its quite a step back - the globalization of credit and debit cards the last 10-15 years had really done a nice job of doing away with the need for fucking around with a pile of travler's checks, cash, and screwy currency brokers; you could go most anywhere in the developed world and get around on your CC confidently just like at home.  Now we are back to having to screw around with piles of cash and travlers checks just in case the waiter can't figure out your CC. 

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby KC0KEK » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:59 pm

My AMEX has had a chip since I got it three-plus years ago. I frequently pay at merchants such as Petco by tapping the card against the POS terminal instead of swiping it. But when I was in Seoul several months ago, I don't recall ever seeing a terminal that wasn't strictly for magstripe cards.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby LenexatoKCMO » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:00 pm

KC0KEK wrote:My AMEX has had a chip since I got it three-plus years ago.


I have one of those too - its not the right kind of chip for the international machines. 

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby dangerboy » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:07 pm

Some merchants simply refuse to accept magnetic stripe cards because the processing fees are higher than the new chip and PIN cards.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby cknab1 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:32 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:leaving for paris and barcelona today!

Good luck.  I guess no Grunauer for you for a while.
I'll have what the gentleman on the floor is having.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby drumatix » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:10 pm

Huh. Interesting... I had no problems withdrawing cash or making purchases with magnetic stripe cards in Dubai, The Netherlands, or Italy this year.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby phuqueue » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:59 pm

Yeah I just got back from three months in Europe (Netherlands, Spain, France, Switzerland) and I never ran into a place that wouldn't take my card just because it didn't have a chip in it (but I did frequently get asked if it had a chip -- when I said no, they just swiped it).  My only real problem was the lack of places, especially in the Netherlands, that took credit at all.  Amsterdam is generally fine but anywhere else is a crap shoot, even places like the train station or McDonald's won't take credit.  Luckily my ATM card worked at every single ATM I encountered.  The other countries take credit much more frequently, although still not as much as in the US.  Definitely got in the habit of looking for the credit card stickers in the window before going in somewhere.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby ColumbusParkian » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:21 am

i just got back from Barcelona a few weeks ago. I absolutely loved it. I'd recommend taking a day trip to Sitges, it's maybe 30 minutes away by train. The beaches are gorgeous, much better than those in Barcelona.

mlind
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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby mlind » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:39 am

Some countries like Mexico are mostly a cash economy, especially outside of the big tourist areas.  Since I travel to Mexico yearly, I use my ATM at banks and carry cash to pay for everything.

It just depends on where you go.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby Highlander » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:58 pm

ColumbusParkian wrote:i just got back from Barcelona a few weeks ago. I absolutely loved it. I'd recommend taking a day trip to Sitges, it's maybe 30 minutes away by train. The beaches are gorgeous, much better than those in Barcelona.


Gorgeous but the water is so cold, even on a summer day. 

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby ColumbusParkian » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:02 pm

I respectfully disagree....I was in the water constantly, and thought it was one of the warmer bodies of water i'd ever been in (which granted is a small list)

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby DaveKCMO » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:16 am

phuqueue wrote:Yeah I just got back from three months in Europe (Netherlands, Spain, France, Switzerland) and I never ran into a place that wouldn't take my card just because it didn't have a chip in it (but I did frequently get asked if it had a chip -- when I said no, they just swiped it).  My only real problem was the lack of places, especially in the Netherlands, that took credit at all.  Amsterdam is generally fine but anywhere else is a crap shoot, even places like the train station or McDonald's won't take credit.  Luckily my ATM card worked at every single ATM I encountered.  The other countries take credit much more frequently, although still not as much as in the US.  Definitely got in the habit of looking for the credit card stickers in the window before going in somewhere.


we also ran into no issues using our cards, except one card on a day trip to sitges, spain. we had not alerted that bank about travel outside of barcelona and paris, but another card worked fine.

withdrawing cash from ATMs, however, was expensive. we paid about a 25% premium in fees each time... not expected!

in short, all of the advice i read in travel guides was accurate: use your credit cards when you spend your money as much as possible. get cash or travelers checks in advance for the rest. we bought some euros at commerce bank, but only 105. in retrospect we should have bought more and only carried what we needed for the day.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby Highlander » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:38 am

DaveKCMO wrote:withdrawing cash from ATMs, however, was expensive. we paid about a 25% premium in fees each time... not expected!


:shock: Must be something new, did you forget a decimal?  We never had that issue with ATM's in all the years we lived overseas, it averaged between a 1 and 2% charge and a few grocery stores had ATM's without fees.  Our main bank was in the US and that's the way we got our cash, ATM's. 

Credit cards are a good way to go but be aware that when the bill comes, you will pay somewhere around 3% for currency conversion fees.  
Last edited by Highlander on Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby phuqueue » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:21 pm

I've never had big problems with the ATM fees.  Usually the European bank whose ATM I'm using only has a really small fee, then Bank of America also charges me like five bucks per withdrawal.  My own bank is the one that screws me over, not Santander or Caixa or whoever.  I usually just take out like a hundred euros at a time to minimize the damage.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby DaveKCMO » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:52 pm

i am retarded. that isn't a fee, but the "exchange rate".  :shock:

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby phuqueue » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:42 pm

25% is about right for the exchange rate, the euro was at like $1.26 last I looked a few days ago.  It got as bad as about $1.32 while I was there this summer (but was as low as $1.18 when I first got there).  Reuters has it at $1.2678 right now.

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby chrizow » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:30 pm

the exchange rate isn't so bad in barcelona, where you can drink pretty good cava for 1-2 euros almost everywhere!  local red wines were very reasonable as well - i.e. you can drink what would be a $50 bottle in the US for about $20 USD in barcelona.  my memory might be fading, but i actually found barcelona to be quite affordable in general, even with the exchange rate.  cabs were cheap, hotels were cheap (using online deal-finders), food was quite reasonable aside from a couple of touristy places. 

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby mlind » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:33 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:we also ran into no issues using our cards, except one card on a day trip to sitges, spain. we had not alerted that bank about travel outside of barcelona and paris, but another card worked fine.


Sometimes banks will look at what they consider to be unusual charges and freeze your card in case it's be stolen or whatever.  If you don't usually travel or make larges purchases, it's a good idea to let them know in advance.  Better safe than sorry.

Also, if you are traveling in areas where you need to carry cash, get a money belt that you can wear under your shirt.  

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Re: Overseas Travel

Postby mlind » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:22 am

Travel article on ATM card with chips

http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_1639767 ... ayarea.com


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