How do you put together the finances for your travels, long-term or short-term? What do you sacrifice in order to save up the necessary cash? What's your best money-saving tip on the road? Share your money tips - and pick up a few - right here.

Any suggestions: a form of plastic (NOT credit card) that I can count on?

Sohniye

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  • Added on: June 11th, 2006
Hi everyone,

As my Oz savings continue to grow I am starting to be concerned with more and more how I am actually going to carry this money when it's time to go.

I know some travelers really swear by them but I HATE credit cards (and very well may not be able to get one without a huge variable interest rate.)

I hear about the hassle and huge service charges of travelers cheques.

Debit cards aren't the worst option perse, but the fact that I am sure a hidden surcharge will be tacked on every little transaction (especially since it's oveseas) and the fact that this plastic will do nothing to help me build my credit isn't the greatest.

Does anyone know of any good prepaid bankcards that would have a positive effect on my fico score, be widely accepted in Australia, allow me the full atvantage of the current exchange rate and be easy to replace if necessary?

I know it's a lofty question, but I am ever the optomist. If any of you know of a good bank/card that won't screw me over let me know Wink

Cheers,

Samantha***
http://www.myspace.com/samanthasosohniye

Kathryn M

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  • Added on: June 13th, 2006
When I travel I primarily use my debit card. Before I do my RTW I plan on shopping around for the bank that will make my travels the cheapest. I would sugest calling or visiting a number of them to see what is best for you. As of right now I believe that Commerce doesn't charge for overseas use.

As for credit cards, they charge you a fee for traveling abroad, however if you pay it off right away that is good for your credit score.

nerokerr

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  • Added on: June 15th, 2006
Heh, You hate credit cards, but are worried about building your FICO score? Wink Debit cards charge the same fees. At least, my debit card bearing a Visa logo does. I just go with cash from ATMs using my credit union's ATM card (not issued by Visa). I don't get charged any extra fees except the $1 out-of-network ATM fee.

Bideshi

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  • Added on: June 16th, 2006
On my last trip through 15 countries I only used my debit (ATM) card, and was never charged a fee from my credit union. On top of that, the exchange rates are better than you would get anywhere on the street. Shop around! Not all financial institutions are created equal. And check out credit unions instead of banks, too.

go girl

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  • Added on: July 7th, 2006
I just found out about a combo debit/ATM card that you can get with your picture on it. I love the idea of the picture card, in case it gets stolen. You all probably know about it already, but I live in the sticks. We will get that and use it most of the time, with some credit card use, though not much, because it's too easy to get in trouble with one. But a better exchange rate definitely makes it worth it. I have given up on travellers checks forever, because they cost too much upfront, and have a terrible exchange rate.

We have our savings in a money market account, which pays 4.5% APR, and with our debit card, we can transfer money into the checking account and pay bills online. I love the internet! That way our travel budget can be drawing interest while we are away.
"Those who dance are considered insane
by those who can't hear the music."
George Carlin

kit

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  • Added on: September 25th, 2006
Realising this is an old thread now, but it may be useful to someone anyway--while banks will often charge for each transaction, credit unions don't always. The best deal I got while travelling was with my credit union debit card, which not only had NO fees of any kind, but the best exchange rate we got the whole time.

Kit
"There is a trick, or rather a knack, to flying. The knack lies in learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
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Anne & Mark

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  • Added on: September 27th, 2006
Hi Samantha,

if i am correct, american express do prepaid credit card. You can top them up online and when you are done with them, you can bin them. You get a pin number as for a debit card but what is good is that your pin number will work in any cash machines (some pin numbers' format do not work in some countries)

Hope this helps
Anne

http://blogs.bootsnall.com/anneandmark

Felissimo

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  • Added on: May 17th, 2007
aussiedebitcard https://aussiedebitcard.com/ is great for Australians. The exchange rate is reasonable, many funding options.

Paul79UF

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  • Added on: June 12th, 2007
Before my South America trip I opened an HSBC checking account (already had the savings account at 5%) and got their Mastercard debit card.

They call themselves "the world's bank" and I was never charged an atm fee or transaction fee for using the card.

From what I read they have branches/atms in many countries around the world.

zhang

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  • Added on: June 30th, 2007
So credit union debit cards are the way to go? Which ones do you recommend, and what are the fees you've had to pay?

midlifetravel

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  • Added on: October 9th, 2007
Another option if you are going to a first world country to live and work for a while - say 3+ month then open a local bank account - you make a single transfer into it - paying a set fee rather than a % so if you talking of any amount above a few $1000's you are well ahead of the fee states - most large Australian banks offer unlimited electronic transactions for $5 or so a month Check out Money on the road in Australia here
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Azdo

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  • Added on: January 5th, 2008
Just to inform anyone interested in the American Express card mentioned in this thread, I just went to their website and found this:

"American Express has determined that it will no longer be supporting the Travelers Cheque Card. We would like to thank you for using the American Express Travelers Cheque Card and apologize for any inconvenience caused by this decision.

As of October 31, 2007, your Travelers Cheque Card has automatically been cancelled, and you will be issued a refund for any remaining outstanding balance on your Card."

Jeff W

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  • Added on: January 7th, 2008
That really blows. I used the AMEX Travelers Checkcard once. It was pretty good.

I don't know about Australia, but in the US, all these checkcashing chains have their own pre-paid credit cards. They work like a debit card, have the visa or Mastercard logo, you can check the balances online. And even sign up for cell phone text messages on transactions(my favorite feature). I liked the thing more than any other card I ever had.
I think for a fee they even report good info to the credit reports too. Which is what you wanted.
I even got a portion of my paychecks to get direct deposit into them too. Which maybe you can wire funds into it if needs be.

That one was called NetSpend. I haven't used it in more than a year, but I may get another one if I ever get to go somewhere again.

I don't know Australian rules for opening accounts however. This sounds similiar to what I was talking about. But I know nothing about this particular one.
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