I go to Europe, mid-east or Japan with an Amex card, a Visa card, a spare Visa, and two ATM cards. I tell the Visa card people that I'll be traveling.
My ATM cards only link to my "travel account" that I don't keep much money in. I move money into it as needed from my computer and it has overdraft protection. Yes, there is a fee for foreign transactions. It sucks. But it's 1% on the ATM card so I try to use that as much as possible. The Visa cards is 3%.
The reason I have 2 ATM cards is that ATM machines sometimes eat a card and when you're across the pond you are SOL if you are depending on that card. I was in Brugges, Belgium one Saturday with some biz colleagues and we were talking about "card strategy" when abroad. Ironic as can be, one of my pals went to the ATM machine which refused to give her money and ate her only ATM card. Fortunately, she had some cash and a credit card, and we helped her out on the small stuff.
I leave Tuesday for 2 weeks in Germany.
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