Originally Posted by matloik
Hey Mark, question for you: How have you dealt with money and currency exchanges as you pass through various countries? How do you anticipate how much local-currency cash you'll need? Do you use a credit card? Are ATMs available and do you use? Cheers.
Getting money and exchange is always a trick. You try to figure out how much you will need and cut it close so you do not have much at the border to re-exchange. I have been keeping fairly good track of my expenses with a spread sheet so I know that in Peru my daily rate was around $62 USD per day (I was on my own and getting single rooms with Bathrooms that added to my budget) and Bolivia was at $52 USD. This includes everything I spent including Visa's fee (big in Bolivia at $130USD, and bike parts, laundry, cerveza etc)
I use ATM's and once I arrive in a country, take out a chunk of what I will need for the country so that in small towns and villages I have money and do not have to always find an ATM. The other issue is many of the ATM's down here only give a small amount of money, like $100-$150 per transaction
so you end up doing multiple withdrawals
but that is how it works unless you find one that gives more!
I have noticed that you can get a better exchange rate sometimes on the street than the ATM, but for ease and hopefully to avoid getting counterfeit bills (which are certainly around down here).
Hope that answers your question. For a long trip it is hard to carry all the USD you will need so you end up paying the bank fee + international transaction fee of 3% of ATM withdrawals. I have an account that reverses my ATM fees so all I pay is the Int'l Fee.....