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In preparation for Long Term Travel (LTT) there is one issue that rises quickly to the top of the seemingly endless To Do List. Money.
Now, I am not of the mindset that one must necessarily be wealthy to travel. At least not anymore. But you do have to have some fundage…and you need to consider how you’re going to access that green. Then you’ll need to factor in Currency Exchange Rates, ATM withdrawal fees, Wire Transfer fees, and for those of us who aren’t heirs of Steve Jobs or have to actually look at the prices on a menu before we order, this may even include PayPal Donation fees. Fees for this, fees for that, Fees like fleas …. they have the potential to ruin a girl’s appetite for adventure before she even books the appetizer flight! Well, keep your ruby slippers on and Surrender Dorothy; if LTT is something you truly want to do, you’re going to have to go through the Haunted Forest to get to your Emerald City, but fear not my little pretty, you’re not alone!!
Every situation is different, so this is not blanket advice; think of it more as a soft cardigan sweater. I have done my due diligence and researched all options available to me as a U.S. traveller, and I am simply sharing these findings with my fellow AuthenChic Adventurers. I highly recommend you do your own legwork and be certain to find the best options for your particular situation. With that said, let’s link arms and skip together down this Dollar Bill Road!
I have been a fan of Credit Unions for years, and that is how I usually roll – I believe them to be the best financial resource for people in the US. Not so handy for the AuthenChic Traveller however. Yet after being ripped off by the traditional “bank” so many times, I really did NOT want to support a system I don’t believe in. In the end I caved and opened an account with Citibank, primarily because they convinced me they were the best global choice. They lied. There are RIDICULOUS fees for currency exchange and wire transfers. However, I believe I may have stumbled upon a happy medium. CHARLES SCHWAB.
I have read about some very positive experience from other travellers so I called to have some specific questions answered. So far it looks almost too good to be true. NO FEES!!! Not even for currency exchange or ATM fees –
and if you DO get charged an ATM fee, they REFUND it to your account! hmmmm. The website states that you must have a $1000 minimum balance, but after speaking with a rep, that is not necessarily true. They PREFER that you keep that balance, but there are no penalty fees for not doing so. And although it reads that way, you don’t even need a grand to open your account. You DO however, have to open a brokerage account – which could actually come in handy. And there are no fees for that either. I will keep you posted as I investigate further, but so far, so good. What about you? What have your experiences been with fundage access during your travels? Any advice?