An ATM lit up at night against a purple brick wall

Updated: eight/22/2019 | August 22nd, 2019

Saving income for travel is one particular of the largest obstacles that keeps men and women rom realizing their travel dreams.

However, all also usually, I see travelers throwing income away in avoidable bank costs.

Banking overseas is much more than just placing your card in an ATM and taking out income. There is a lot much more to look at — in particular if you want to grow to be a savvy traveler!

When you travel on a spending budget, banking overseas includes being aware of 3 issues:

  1. How to stay away from paying bank costs.
  2. How to do away with foreign transaction charges.
  3. How to get a superior exchange price.

I know also quite a few men and women who travel abroad and finish up paying obscene ATM costs and credit card transaction costs. All mainly because they didn’t do their investigation and program ahead.

In 2019, there’s totally no need to have for it. You didn’t save up all this income in order to give it the banks, proper? I know I didn’t. I want to preserve it all for myself mainly because every single avoided charge is much more income for meals, drinks, and activities on the road!

Want to save much more income on your subsequent trip abroad? Right here is how you do away with ALL bank costs when you travel in five uncomplicated measures!

Table of Contents

  1. Step 1: Eradicate ATM Costs
  2. Step two: Prevent Credit Card Costs
  3. Step three: Decrease the Exchange Price “Penalty”
  4. Step four: Do not Transform Funds at Airports
  5. Step five: Often Choose the Regional Currency
  6. Step six: Do not Get Currency at Residence (and Skip These Foreign Currency Cards!)


1. Eradicate ATM Costs

ATM costs can genuinely add up — in particular if you are traveling for weeks or months at a time. Let’s feel about it: When you are on the road, you will likely withdraw income from an ATM twice a week. Costs differ about the planet, but on typical you finish up paying about $three-five USD per withdrawal. That is $10 per week, $40 per month, or $520 per year! Do you know how quite a few days you could devote in Southeast Asia for that quantity? Virtually three weeks!

Even if you only use the ATM half the time, that is nevertheless $260 USD per year. And most travelers I know go to the ATM even much more than twice a week, which only increases the quantity in costs they spend. Why give banks income you need to have for travel? You did a lot of function saving your money — don’t waste it by providing it to a bank.

To aid you stay away from costs, right here are 4 issues you will want to do on your subsequent trip to do away with these pesky costs:

1st, choose a bank in the Worldwide ATM Alliance. This is a network of significant banks that have come collectively and waived costs and enables for no cost ATM withdrawals. When they have the higher costs ($five USD per withdrawal) for banks outdoors their network, by employing companion ATMs you can stay away from ATM charges totally.

Beneath is a list of key banks in this alliance:

  • Bank of America (United States)
  • Barclays (England, Wales, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and particular nations in Africa)
  • BNP Paribas (France, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Morocco, Italy, New Caledonia, Réunion, Guyane, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Luxembourg)
  • Deutsche Bank (Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal and Italy)
  • Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (Italy)
  • Scotiabank (Canada, Caribbean, Peru, Chile, and Mexico)
  • Westpac (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands)
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Be confident to verify with your regional bank on particular coverage regions. There are some exceptions, i.e., if you use your Barclays card in one particular nation, there could possibly not be a charge, but in a different, there may perhaps be. Other costs, such as an international transaction or foreign currency charge, may perhaps also nevertheless apply so double-verify ahead of you go!

Note: Bank of America charges a three% foreign transaction charge on all withdrawals not in USD.

Secondly, if you are a US resident, the finest bank to use is Charles Schwab.


Charles Schwab has no costs and reimburses all your ATM costs at the finish of every single month. You will need to have to open a higher-yield checking account in order to qualify, but there is no minimum deposit expected and no month-to-month service charge. Their ATM card can be utilized in any bank machine about the planet, and you will under no circumstances spend a charge. This is my main bank card and I’ve been employing it for years. Considering the fact that acquiring it, I’ve avoided all ATM costs. It is actually saved me thousands of dollars more than the previous decade of traveling the planet.

Third, get a low-charge card. I use HSBC as my backup mainly because HSBC has ATMs all more than the planet and charges only $two.50 USD per ATM transaction when you use a non-HSBC ATM. When it is not as superior as zero, it is nevertheless much better than what a lot of other banks charge. Furthermore, Capital One particular does not charge any withdrawal costs, but you do have to spend any costs charged by the regional bank.

Lastly, ask your regional bank or credit union. Not charging ATM costs has grow to be a widespread practice more than the final handful of years, so make confident to ask your regional bank.

Right here are some recommended ATM cards for non-US travelers:

Canada: Scotia or Tangerine are a portion of the Worldwide ATM Alliance.
Australia: ING, Citibank, or HSBC have no feed cards.
UK: UMonzo or Starling let you stay away from ATM costs abroad.

If you are hunting for other approaches to reduce wasteful expenditures on the road, pay a visit to this collection of all my finest strategies for additional income savings.

two. Prevent Credit Card Costs

The subsequent key charge we need to have to get rid of is the credit card foreign transaction charge. Most credit cards charge a three% charge on purchases created overseas. That can add up due to the fact most of us use our credit card for every little thing. It is grow to be a lot much more widespread for credit cards to waive that charge due to the fact if you use your card a lot overseas, you will likely use it a lot anyplace. My favourite no overseas transaction charge cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclay Arrival Plus, Capital One particular, and Citi Premier. (For much more recommendations, you can obtain all my favourite travel cards right here.)

If you use these cards overseas, you will not spend three% and you will save a lot of income!

For non-US citizens, verify the following internet websites that list cards that could possibly not charge any overseas costs:

  • Australian Frequent Flyer (Australia)
  • Credit Cards UK (UK)
  • Candian Kilometers (Canada)
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three. Decrease the Exchange Price “Penalty”

Every single time you use your card overseas, your regional bank coverts the transaction into your regional currency for billing purposes and requires a tiny off the best for performing so. As a result the official price you see on-line is not what you truly get. That is the interbank price, and unless you grow to be a key bank, you are not going to get that price. All we can do is get as close as we can to that price. To stay away from becoming on the actual losing finish of conversion, stick to the following strategies:

Use a credit card — Credit card corporations get the finest prices. Utilizing a credit card will get you an exchange price closest to the official interbank currency price so stay away from an ATM or money if you can.

Use an ATM — ATMs provide the finest exchange price soon after credit cards. They are not as superior as credit cards due to the fact industrial banks take a tiny much more off the best, but it is a lot much better than exchanging money. Funds exchange offices provide the worst prices mainly because they are so far down the meals chain, they cannot get the finest exchange price (plus, they generally charge a commission as properly).

Do not use ATMs in weird areas — Utilizing these ATMs you obtain in hotels, hostels, regional 7-11s, or some other random spot is a negative notion. They’re practical, but you will spend for that comfort. They normally charge higher ATM costs and provide horrible conversion prices. Skip these ATMs and obtain a key bank.

Here’s a video that highlights just how sneaky these corporations can be:


four. Do not Transform Funds at Airports

Most exchange bureaus in airports are so far down the monetary meals chain they do not have the clout to provide superior exchange prices. The prices you see at airports are the worst — never, ever use an exchange bureau there unless you totally have to. A different tip: stay away from employing the corporation Travelex at all fees — they have the worst prices and costs. By no means, under no circumstances use them. Prevent their ATMs also!

five. Often Choose the Regional Currency

When you use your credit card abroad, you will usually be provided the solution to be charged in your property currency (i.e., alternatively of becoming charged in euros, they will charge you in US dollars). By no means say yes. The price at which they are converting the currency is normally worse than the price your bank will give you. Choose the regional currency and let your credit card corporation make the conversion. You will get a much better price and save some income in the method.

six. Do not Get Currency at Residence (and Skip Foreign Currency Cards!)

When acquiring currency at property could possibly look like a superior notion, you will finish up acquiring a worse exchange price. Unless you are 100% confident you will need to have money proper on arrival, stay away from exchanging income in your property nation. Airports all have ATMs exactly where you can withdraw income. You can get a a lot much better price when you do that. Do not get currency ahead of you go.

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Furthermore, stay away from any “foreign currency cards” (like these supplied from currency exchange corporations) exactly where you can pre-load income at a set exchange price. The prices provided are also terrible and they usually have all sorts of added costs. Performing this essentially is attempting to predict the exchange price. You are hoping it does not get worse when you travel but what if it gets much better? You do not know either way. That is specifically why you shouldn’t get these cards.


Bank costs can add up to some severe income more than the course of a lengthy trip. If you want to save income, you need to have to be proactive when it comes to banking and currency exchanges. A tiny preparing can go a lengthy way and save you a ton of income more than the weeks, months, and years of your travels.

I see also quite a few travelers pay a visit to the ATM all the time with no paying consideration to the most up-to-date exchange prices. You are on the losing finish of the stick that way. Be intelligent and bank intelligent. I haven’t paid a bank charge when traveling the planet in more than ten years and you shouldn’t either.

And with these straightforward strategies, you will under no circumstances have to once more.

WANT Extra? Right here ARE OTHER Significant TRAVEL Strategies TO Support YOU SAVE Funds:

  • How to choose the travel credit card for your trip
  • How to save income when you travel
  • 12 issues you should really NOT do when you travel

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Book Your Trip: Logistical Strategies and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Locate a low-priced flight by employing Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favourite search engines mainly because they search internet websites and airlines about the globe so you normally know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory. If you want to keep someplace other than a hostel, use as they regularly return the least expensive prices for guesthouses and low-priced hotels. I use them all the time.

Do not Overlook Travel Insurance coverage
Travel insurance coverage will shield you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It is extensive protection in case something goes incorrect. I under no circumstances go on a trip with no it as I’ve had to use it quite a few occasions in the previous. I’ve been employing Globe Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that provide the finest service and worth are:

  • Globe Nomads (for absolutely everyone under 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for these more than 70)

Seeking for the finest corporations to save income with?
Verify out my resource web page for the finest corporations to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save income when I travel – and that will save you time and income also!