I budgeted my trip really well before I left, but I didn’t account for all these bank fees and now I have to go home early… This shit blows!
You’ll want to do your research (I can’t do it for you banks are different every where in the world, sometimes even state to state, or depending on their promotions that month)
You’ll want to open a bank account specifically for your travels. You’re looking for minimum fees, maximum reward. (aren’t you always)
You need to know that most banks charge up the @$$ for international withdrawals so you need to find a bank account that is charge-free or budget another 2.5-7.5% of your budget just on bank fees (that’s calculated at a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $15 per $200 withdrawal, $5 from your bank per transaction, $5 from the bank who’s ATM you’re using, and $5 for the international fee… $200 is an average of the maximum that ATMS will let you take out at once) If you’re like me and you really don’t feel like giving your bank a free 7.5% of your spendings, you’ll need to do more leg work and make more initial sacrifices. Not all banks, but at least one in your area, will offer some kind of premium international type bank account that waves all transaction fees… If you’re lucky they even refund the ATM’s fee. Usually these bank accounts require really good credit or for you to leave an specific amount on your bank account untouched, or both. If you’re in the US, try Schwab.
So prepare well and make some extra cash to leave untouched on your account so you don’t have to fork out too much dough on the road. This money can also serve as an emergency rescue fund. Two-for-one bonus. Be very careful to leave that money on the account, if you can, put a hold on it, because they won’t think twice about charging you extra for your mishaps.Also, having one of those specialty bank accounts will probably do a better job of protecting you from fraud. (remember to check your bank accounts often to look for signs of foul play)
While you’re at it, make sure your credit card is top-notch. Look for something that has car insurance, this is VITAL to saving money if you’re going to ever need to rent a car in the modern world (which will probably happen) Look for something with rewards because you can cash those in for hotel rooms to recover from a long trek in the jungle. Look for something with no cash advance fees, if possible. And lastly, and probably least important if you use your card properly, look for something with low interest rates.
You might not find everything in the same card, but since you’re opening two bank accounts, you can apply for two cards and get the benefits you’re lacking in one on the other.
There is no solution to this problem. If you spent all your cash it’s time to go home. Please, please, PLLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAASE, pretty pretty pretty please, DO NOT start pulling out the credit card, you will severely regret it later. (trust me)
What you can do once you realize this is happening before it’s too late is revise your budget, your lifestyle, or get a job while you’re on the road.
If you’re at the beginning of a long journey, you might consider going home just long enough to open a more useful bank account.