My wife and I are going to South America for 3+ months. We don't want to carry a bunch of cash so we're trying to figure out what kind of card to use while trying to avoid any card fees. We're traveling on a budget (isn't everyone?) and we don't want to have to pay any high international card fees, or at least keep them to a minimum. Any ideas or experiences? By the way we are traveling with US$ if that matters.
Normal debit cards work in most machines and most countries now prefer local currency ,except Ecuador
the best and most conveniant way is to use your normal debit card and withdraw local currency from atm machines which are widespread. have a stash of USD in cash as an emergency reserve. we travelled there for about the same time as you and took money out perhaps once a week - plan what you are going to spend and withdraw amounts which if stolen/lost won't break the bank - but enough so you don't have to withdraw cash too often.
Thanks for the input guys. Looks like that's what we'll probably end up doing. The problem is everytime we use the ATM with our debir card they charge 1% of the transaction and $5 for each transaction. That's not very much but it could add up in the long run and it'd be nice to avoid the charges if possible.
We used our HSBC debit cards and had no problems with them. we have an HSBC Plus account which meant no fees at all for withdrawals - that saved us an absolute packet.
Oh, and the dollar IS the local currency in Ecuador.