Friday, 18 January 2013

On the Ground--Show Them the Jacksons

Show Them the Jacksons—People fuss a lot about travelers’ checks and credit cards when traveling.  In many places, travelers’ checks simply aren’t accepted or are accepted with great hassle.  Credit cards or ATM cards typically carry a fee for withdrawals.  Some banks and credit card companies offer an international travel card with no transaction charge.  Against conventional wisdom, I feel it is important to carry a healthy amount of cash—preferably in $20 denominations.  Cash is still king in most places, and the U.S. greenback still has considerable clout around the world.  I advise a mix of credit and cash. 

In countries that don’t accept U.S. currency, I recommend exchanging money at a local bank if possible, followed by a local exchange shop with good exchange rates.  I have found the hotel and airport exchange shops to have the highest exchange rates, but the airport shops are safe and handy in a hurry.  Shop around for the best rates, but don’t let the search take time away from your vacation!
Use pickpocket-proof clothing and bags.  And don’t overlook the small safe now common in most hotel rooms.  Finally, while it may be cheaper to use the subway, a cab may be safer.

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