Call Your Bank(s) and Credit Card Company(ies)
Regardless of how long your program is or where your program is located, you will use your U.S. bank account and ATMs to access your spending money. Before you can do so, you need to call your banks and credit card companies to place a travel alert. Your bank will ask you the right questions to make sure that your account isn't frozen while you're away.
Some Questions to Ask Your Bank
- Is there a maximum withdrawal limit on my account?
- Will I be charged a fee for using an ATM overseas? Are there foreign transaction fees?
- Is there a number I can call if my card is lost or stolen?
- How could I receive/activate a new card abroad?
- If my card is close to expiring, can I receive a new one before I leave the U.S.?
Withdrawing money from the ATM is going to be the easy way to access it on-location. Save your credit cards for emergencies and rely on cash. In fact, most countries have a "culture of cash" in which paying for credit cards is saved for large purchases.
Be Safe with Your Money
Only make withdrawals from the ATM in well-lit areas during the day and pay attention to your surroundings. Don't use any ATMs that look like they may have been tampered with and pay attention to the keypad - the numbers are inverted in some countries. Keep your money in a safe place. Don't carry more money with you than you need at any given time. Don't carry your debit card and credit cards all with you while on-location if you don't need them.