ATMs Abroad

Posted by Madeleine Kennedy on

Withdrawing money in foreign countries can induce a lot of anxiety and can be a deterrent for some people to even go to certain countries. 

After travelling extensively since I was twenty one years old, I've stood nervously at a few foreign ATMs hopeful that I get the card (my life line) I just inserted back while simultaneously hoping that no one comes up behind me wanting to acquire the wad of cash I'm about to withdrawal. Which by the way, has never happened even in the slightest, I just watch a lot of Forensic Files, OK? 

The act of taking cash out abroad has become simpler and simpler over the years. No longer are the days of needing to call your bank ahead of time- they know you are gone 🎩. They also won't lock your card down, requiring you to be sans card- if you call them right away. 

Knowing which ATM to take your money out of though, that is pretty crucial. In Canada, we have our big five banks and transaction fees apply if you go to any banking ATM that is not your own. Obviously, when we hit the open road of the world we are working with entirely different banking institutions.

Here are my tips: 

1. There will almost always be a bank to desperately AVOID. In Peru it was Global Net. Not only high transactional fees but a terrible conversion on every dollar. No beuno. Do some research ahead of time to know which is the best bank to seek out in your destination. 

2. Plan ahead. While taking a lot of cash out can be stressful, it's good to at least plan a few days at a time. Often times you can find yourself arriving to a new city with no bank or ATM at all. And you want a cold beer? You better have some emergency cash at all times! 

3. Have other currency on hand, just cause you know, you never know. On our most recent trip we ended up in a town with only the dreaded Global Net ATM. Instead of having to get fucked on the transactional fees, we got to exchange 20 USD to Soles and grab a taxi to our next city (which had a bank we liked)👍🏼. 

4. This isn't quite ATM related, but always try to find out if the hotel or restaurant abroad charges "additional fees" for using your credit card. Sometimes, it's worth it. Sometimes it isn't. Asking questions is your best advantage against getting ⭐️uck⭐️ed.

5. Call your bank when you get back. You never know, sometimes there is a nice human behind the phone who can help with any of those additional charges you incurred while abroad. 


ATM Tips of your own?? Let's build this community together! Comment below!


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