money boats

I went to take out cash and the machine ate my card, or told me to contact my bank! HELP!!


  • let your bank know ahead of time that you will be traveling for an extended period of time to multiple countries around the world, and to make sure to not put any holds on your card. If you know you itinerary give it to them. Make sure they have a way of contacting you in case of emergencies if they notice suspicious activity before they put holds on your cards. Let them know that you will not be able to walk into a branch to get a new card anytime soon, and blocking your cards might end up costing them a lot of
  • Make sure you sign up for bank accounts that give you bank cards on the Visa of Plus system. These days you can find major banks around the world that will accept those.
  • Know your pin numbers.
  • Treat every transaction as a momentous event in your life. Don’t take out money while you’re drunk, tipsy, or in a hurry. Check ATMs for suspicious objects and try to use only the ones inside the bank. Most of the time while you’re traveling you’re taking out large sums of cash, a lot more than you would at home. Taking out $20 is not an option when you’re paying for transaction fees, so you need to be aware of your surroundings and how you’ll conceal your cash immediately. But I digress.
  • A machine will only take your card or refuse a transaction if your card has a block, you’ve entered wrong information multiple times, your card doesn’t work on the system, or foul play is suspected. Make sure none of those happen and you’ll be fine.


  • You’ve got another card, remember, so use that one for a while and follow the steps above for contacting your bank and getting a new card rushed to you. This really shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve prepared yourself.
  1. Lost Bank Card
  2. Out Of Budget
  3. Robbed and Broke
  4. Post Trip Credit Card Debt
  5. Machine Ate My Card

We hope these tips will help.

Why don’t you share some of your money-related horror stories with us?


  1. Oh boy.. I can’t understand people who travel on credit. I know at least a couple of backpackers who first spend on travel and then go to work for several months to pay the bill. Wouldn’t it make more sense to do it the other way around? I’d enjoy my travels way more knowing I’m using my hard earn money, without having to worry about what comes up next!..
    Good tips! :)
    Zara @ Backpack ME recently posted…Top 13 Travel Experiences of 2013My Profile

    1. Right there with you Zara! But to each their own. It’s hard for some people to save up sometimes, and I can understand how the motivation of paying off debt could get one to buckle down more effectively than the more abstract goal of saving.

  2. Learned this lesson while traveling with a student group. The bank ATM ate a student’s Visa card. It was Sunday and we were just visiting for the day.
    Lesson 1: If possible, only use the bank ATM while the bank is open.
    Lesson 2: If you can locate a commercial bank you can draw money off your Visa card without using the machine.
    Lesson 3: On short trips I overpay my Visa before leaving and use that card as a Debit card while away.

      1. Hello Jade,
        Thanks for the comment.
        We were in Siena on a Sunday but it was close to the end of the trip so I just loaned money to the student. Upsetting, but not a disaster. Nonetheless it was a lesson regarding weekend travel that was never forgotten.
        I’m a high school teacher in Nova Scotia. Our European trip is intended to introduce students to the roots of our culture (London, Paris, Florence and Rome) and to simply give them the confidence to travel independently. Many do.
        On Twitter @papapigeon (Our tours are called Pigeon Tours)

    1. Traveler’s cheques, does anyone even use those anymore?!!?

      Having credits cards is great, if you know how to use them well, they definitely can work to your advantage, with points and everything. Unfortunately most people slack in the department and end up paying more in interest than they get back in points.

      I’ve been knows to be guilty of this!

      I’m glad you’re on your game!
      JadeAdele recently posted…Planning a Road Trip in the US, your ULTIMATE resource guideMy Profile

  3. This post was very useful! I spend last October in Argentina and in my last week I was in Ushuaia. I didn´t have much money with me but I had my credit card, so I wasn´t that worried… however, once I checked-in in the hostel I was staying they only accepted ‘fresh money’. As a result, I got only 150 pesos (+- 10 euros) for 3 days, so I went to get money from the ATM. It was really hard because apparently in Ushuaia sometimes ATM don´t have money and my card was not accepted in many machines… only on the second day and after 12 AMTs I made it!!!! Now I know that next time I should take two different credit cards… :)
    PedroL recently posted…window #608My Profile

  4. Thank you for the very informative article Jade!
    If I may suggest one rather important point to highlight to your readers would be the following. Be careful of what some travellers may at first hand consider to be “relatively” safe storage options. For example, luggage with regular zippers are not at all safe! These can be easily opened with something as simple as a ballpoint pen and resealed without ones knowledge
    If available I would suggest enquiring with your hotel about the availability of safes in rooms and even safes located at the reception desk. Even if such safes are available, remember that to avoid problems with guests loosing their access code or safe keys, the hotel security or management will typically have spare keys securely locked away. Just to be extra safe ensure that you keep a small, light-weight, tamperproof, lockable container or bag that can be placed inside such a hotel safe. It doesn’t have to be heavy-duty, it only has to serve as a deterrent. ;-)
    I trust the above adds value to you and your readers :-)

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