One of the questions we frequently get asked is how we handled our money when backpacking for 8 months through Southeast Asia. No, we did not carry thousands of dollars of cash on us. Yes, travelers cheques are a thing of the past. So, what did we do? Well, first things first, we researched to find the best debit card for international travel.
We determined that whatever card we would use, it had to be a card that had no ATM fees and no foreign transaction fees. We did some quick math and over months of travel, we could risk losing thousands of dollars in ATM and foreign transaction fees. Yeah, we were not okay with that. Our hard-earned money being wasted on fees? Not cool.
The search was on to find a card that fit our needs.
Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce you to Charles Schwab. The best debit card for international travel and the only one you will need. Let us repeat, THE BEST DEBIT CARD FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL and the only one you will need. Why you ask? Well, let us tell you and may we remind you, this is from first-hand experience.
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No ATM Fees.
- ATMs were the way Jesse and I withdrew money for 8-months and like we stated, when traveling intentionally, ATM fees have the potential to lose you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Hundreds of dollars you could use to travel longer or take a certain excursion. When using your Charles Schwab debit card, you pay ATM fees upfront. However, at the end of each month, Charles Schwab reimburses your account with all those lost dollars you spent on fees.
No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Combined with zero ATM fees, Jesse and I saved thousands of dollars. We didn’t have to worry about currency exchange rates. We just popped our debit card in an ATM and our USD’s were converted to the currency we needed. Easy peasy. Cash in our pockets and we were off to explore feeling good and not ripped off.
Responsive Customer Service.
- Jesse and I lost our debit cards, not once, but twice during our 8-month hiatus. Without our debit cards, we were basically screwed. Charles Schwab completely understood our situation and FedEx’ed both of our cards abroad to a FedEx location for us to pick up. The process was seamless. We gave them our preferred FedEx location, they shipped it aboard for a nominal fee of $15, supplied us the tracking number and within a week we had our new cards in hand.
Long story short, The Wandering Stüs will not be leaving home without our Charles Schwab cards in hand. If you would like further details on the card, take a look at the below chart.
How Do I Get This Card?
First things first, there is no cost to get the card but you will need to setup a brokerage account with Charles Schwab in order to get a Charles Schwab checking account. The only barrier to entry for you would be your Credit Score. In order to open an account, you have to have a solid to great credit score – think 650 or higher. If you have any questions, Charles Schwab has exceptional customer service, so feel free to reach out to them. Or hell, leave us a message in the comment section or send us something directly and we’ll do our best to answer.
Our only 2 cents is to make sure your account and card are activated while your state side. Also, let Charles Schwab know how long you are traveling for and what countries you intend on visiting. Doing these few things before departing will save you potential headaches while your overseas.
For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)