We travelled with Halifax Clarity cards (MasterCard) and a Santander Zero Credit Card (also MasterCard). Both offer fee free withdrawals and use overseas, but you pay interest on the withdrawals, which can be kept minimal if you bank online and pay off the balance every couple of days... literally £1-£2 a month....
We found them to be perfect, apart from in Mongolia when finding an ATM that accepts MasterCard and not just visa very hard, we did find one eventually though. All other countries we've visited, finding an ATM that accepts MasterCard is easy.
We also carried 2 Barclay's account cards (where we normally bank) for emergencies as the fees they impose for use abroad is horrendous and also a Nationwide flex account card for emergencies as they used to be free but now aren't. but it's what we had.
When we left we had two Clarity cards (same account though), one Santander Zero, one Nationwide and two Barclays...
A month into our travels someone split one of the clarity cards while putting it into a machine in a hostel (grrrr) it still barely worked so we thought we'd use that as a last resort and switched to the other... 1 Down!
Another couple of months later my Nationwide card got stolen and the account cleared out (£500, refunded back by Nationwide very quickly, Bravo Nationwide), but no more card in our possession, two down!
Months later in Indonesia I left the other Clarity Card in an ATM (What an idiot). Called to cancel and as its the same account for both cards the other card which was split would now no longer work either. 3 down!
We were then left with the Santander Zero card as the only 'good' card to use. I withdrew cash in Bali at the airport before we left to pay for the departure tax, arrived in Perth 4 hours later, used it in an ATM at Perth Airport and it was promptly cancelled. 4 down!
It was 2am, there's no free WiFi at Perth Airport so we couldn't use Skype to re activate it and we didn't have any money between us to pay for a phone and no other way to get money other than the Barclay's cards. We were hiring a car though, so used the Barclay's card to secure the car, but thankfully no payment is actually taken, drove to a 24 hour McDonald's to use their free WiFi to reactivate the Santander card and then we were actually able to get some money to pay for stuff... by this time it was 3-4am.... 😞
My advice.... Travel with several cheap ways to get your money, and even take the cards you do have even if they charge stupid amounts, just in case!!!!!! Maybe even keep $100 in US stuffed in a sock, just in case everything fails!!! 😊
[Edited: 2012 May 28 19:41 - MichaelnFaye:21816 ]