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Best form of Money for students studying and traveling abroad

ohmadreohmadre Registered User Posts: 587 Member
edited January 2006 in Parent Cafe
Specifically, around Europe. Also, with respect to telephone communication, what would be the most practical approach?

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Post edited by ohmadre on

Replies to: Best form of Money for students studying and traveling abroad

  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom - Posts: 13,158 Senior Member
    Atm cards are good with the visa or mastercard logo. When we traveled, we took an extra one and hid it just in case ours was lost , and my husband had so much fun depositing more money for us

    It is euros in most of europe (not England tho), but do not take hundred dollar bills, hard to break,

    We also did a credit cards, we paid cash for purchases, and the cards for hotels

    As for phones, you can have your phone adapted for europe, or get a disposable one to use there as well. We did that, and used the pay as you go cards for local calls, cheaper and easier, just slide card or punch in numbers, worked really well, phones were everywhere so we had no problems

    In one emergency I called my husband on the golf course collect to his cell phone!!! he was, hold on, okay, I hit the ball, go ahead dear

    As well, easy to use internet cafes, pay maybe 3 dollars or so for half anhour to check email, reservations, train schedules, etc, using the internet cafes was by far the cheapest,most fun and easist method of communication
  • binxbinx Registered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    The easiest way for a non-resident here in Germany to get money is with an ATM card. There are ATM machines all over. Although we have a bank here, when our son did his study abroad in another part of Germany, we had him use our ATM card from our US bank. It's just so easy. You get a straight bank exchange rate. There are ATM fees, of course, so taking out fewer, larger withdrawals makes more sense than multiple small withdrawals. Credit cards work, too, but then you end up paying interest.

    This is how we get money when we go to countries that don't use the Euro, too. We've been to Hungary, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden, and have gotten our money there via ATM.

    Pay telephones here do not accept cash. You can buy phone cards, or use a credit card in them.

    (Edit: cross-posted with CGM)
  • ohmadreohmadre Registered User Posts: 587 Member
    Citygirlsmom and Binx.
    Many thanks for your input - you gave me more information than I knew to ask for (but definitely what I should have asked for).

    What kinds of outlets typically sell the pay as you go phone cards?

    Is it your experience your ATM must have the VISA or Mastercard logo?

    Has anyone purchased for their student a prepaid VISA? (VisaTravelMoney?)
  • Vicky06Vicky06 Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
    I used a Visa overseas and it worked great. Just make sure the card is approved for overseas withdrawls well before you go over or you won't be able to get cash. I'd go with Visa or Mastercard since they're most widely accepted... I didn't see anything else used except for AmEx every one in a while. I was in a small town this summer on the Amalfi Coast and a working ATM can be few and far between so make sure you have a few Euro before the trip. Umm, what else, I didn't have the right pin code at first.. that sucked, I didn't have any money for a week!
  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom - Posts: 13,158 Senior Member
    THe phones cards are sold everywhere, very easy to find, drug stores, newspaper stands, whereever

    I like the ATM card that works like a Visa, money comes out of checking /savings account, or it acts like a Visa Card where you sign, and easy to get money from ATM. When you need more money, just call home. We have a BofA one that works pretty much everywhere.

    Take both kinds of cards

    And wear a money belt thing, my Husband did, and was irritated at first that I made him wear it, but with the off chance that maybe someone would take his wallet, or that he would get distracted, it was worth the peace of mind, his passport, his cards, etc all fit easily

    and, when traveling, take your time when leaving any establishment, its easy to get excited, be in a hurry and leave a card behind, etc.
    So everytime I used a card, I put it in the same place and double checked before leaving the store. It was a simple practice, but with traveling you are tired, crancky, in a rush, etc, so easy to drop or lose something.

    Have a great trip
  • ohmadreohmadre Registered User Posts: 587 Member
    Okay - thanks all.
  • cangelcangel Registered User Posts: 4,127 Senior Member
    This is all similar to what we have done travelling overseas.

    Would you give different advice for a 14 year old travelling in a school tour group? He has made more than one trip to Europe, but has always had the Bank of Mom and Dad along before, and only had to keep up with small amounts of cash. He does not have a credit card. Obviously we are not too worried about him, or we would not send him alone, but he is 14, almost 15 by then.
  • searchingavalonsearchingavalon Registered User Posts: 509 Member
    A few years ago I got my daughter a prepaid Visa (it was called Visabuxx) when she went to England on her own. I liked it. For one thing, I could look up her account (with her permission) and see how much money she had left. As she did not have much access to a phone, I knew for sure when to add money. And it was a way to teach her to budget.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,614 Senior Member
    Is it your experience your ATM must have the VISA or Mastercard logo?

    Yes -- this is not universal, but many ATM's will only accept Mastercard/Visa credit or debit cards. What happens with an ATM card that lacks the Mastercard/Visa functionality is that you would have to go hunting around to find an ATM to accept it, as opposed to merely walking to the nearest ATM you see. That gets to be a hassle in a strange city & unfamiliar language.

    Also, make sure that your ATM card has a 4-digit pin -- the European ATM's won't accept longer PIN numbers.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,614 Senior Member
    Cangel, when my daughter went overseas for her foreign exchange (age 16) I opened a joint checking account with her, and she has a Visa debit/ATM card with it. Because it is a joint account, it shows up on my online banking account and as an extra account when I used my ATM/debit card, so I can always see how much money is in it and I can easily transfer money if the balance is low.

    This worked so well that we still use it at home and plan to keep it for college.
  • lefthandofdoglefthandofdog Registered User Posts: 1,430 Senior Member
    Our 13 year old went on a school trip to Europe last year and got along fine with her bank ATM card and a credit card. She used the ATM for the most part, and I think would have been fine with just that.

    The problem with the credit card is that we were allowed to get credit cards (on our account) in our children's names but we could not put a lower limit on the amount they could charge. I don't know if all credit card companies work this way, but I would have preferred giving her a card with a much lower limit. The alternative is to take out an account with a low limit, but we didn't want an extra account. It requires that you know/trust your kid (we didn't tell her what the limit was, just told her she was responsible for bill).
  • driverdriver - Posts: 4,148 Senior Member
    Also, make sure that your ATM card has a 4-digit pin -- the European ATM's won't accept longer PIN numbers.
    Also make sure that you know the numerical version of your PIN if you use letters (as I do) in the States. European ATM's don't have the telephone-system letters on the buttons as we do, which threw me for a loop the first time I tried to use one. The visabuxx sounds like a great idea.
  • walkinghomewalkinghome Registered User Posts: 7,701 Senior Member
    Before we went to Europe a couple of years ago, I notified our bank where we have our atm/debit card as well as the company we have our Visa credit card so they would note in our account that it was indeed us that was using it. I thought that we would probably be using it much more then usual and if our bank or card company called to check and see if that was us with the activity, we wouldn't be there to confirm it.
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,288 Senior Member
    Cangel, if you are talking about a high school sponsored trip to Europe, the type that is approx. ten days long...my kids took traveler's checks and/or got cash ahead of time in that country's currency, if I recall correctly.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,423 Senior Member
    If you're only going for a short time, you can lease an international cell phone from AAA. You can do this for varying lengths of time. You can also get Euros or pounds from AAA in most amounts. It takes several days to process a request. When DS did his study abroad in London, he got an Orange phone at the Orange store there. The cell phones in Europe can be "recharged" at most convenience stores...not like our plans here at all. Also, in England, cell phone users pay only for calls they make, not for calls they receive. Re: access to cash. We sent DS with some pounds with him. He used his B of A ATM card both in London and on his trips to Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna and Spain. No problems. You do have to notify the bank that withdrawals will be being made from abroad before you go. Ditto using credit cards. There was actually one bank in London that did not charge an ATM users fee for B of A card holders. That was a nice bonus. DD (a high school student) is going to Vienna this summer with a youth orchestra. She will take an international phone card with her for EMERGENCY use only. She is familiar with the use of Internet Cafes and I'm sure will keep in touch with us from those. It's very inexpensive...a couple of dollars for 1/2 hour....cheaper than ANY call. We will get her some Euros to take with her, and give her travellers cheques as well. She will not take a credit card (she doesn't HAVE a credit card) or a cell phone.
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