If you can get a Capital One card by the time you travel down, that is a great option. There are are no international transaction fees when you use it anywhere in the world. Another advantage of using a credit card is that it significantly reduces your exposure, should any shady activity take place here. Capital One gives you the option of disputing any charges online, and the disputed amount is almost instantly credited back to your account until the merchant offers verification of you authorizing those charges. DO NOT use a debit card here for purchases in stores, restaurants or bars. This could leave you with a completely drained checking account if someone here tries to screw you. The process for disputing that kind of crap usually involves a visit (in person) to your local bank, lots of paperwork, and a fair amount of time for investigation and whatnot. In the end, there is no guaranty that you'll ever see your money again. The Capital One card also gives you the ability to make a cash withdrawal from an ATM (like many other credit cards) but there is a $10.00 fee for each withdrawal and a higher interest rate is charged than for store purchases. This fee is easily credited back to you if you just call Capital One after the cash withdrawal and tell them that you would prefer not to pay that fee. Honestly, the customer service rep will instantly credit it back to you just for asking. Finally, another great insider tip for visitors here is that you can actually access your cash from any ATM without paying any ATM fees or international transaction fees by using a Schwab debit card at the ATMs. The Schwab debit card provides unlimited ATM fee reimbursements anywhere in the world and instantly! As soon as you complete your transactions at the ATM, the full amount of the ATM fee is credited back to your account automatically... no matter how high that ATM fee is. (For example, I have had a 20 USD fee credited back to me from a withdrawal in a casino ATM where they really rape you.) I have since considered buying and operating my own ATM and charging a $100 transaction fee for each withdrawal. Schwab would be obligated to pay me this exorbitant fee every single time that I made a cash withdrawal from my own ATM. How about that? An ATM in my house that worked like a money tree : ) Anyhow, good luck with your trip and be careful with that plastic!
Edited by MacGyver (04/13/13 07:10 AM)