As somebody who has been lucky enough to get to travel abroad, I often find friends approaching me asking for general travel tips. I find most pieces of general travel advice to be too simplistic; they usually paint with broad brushstrokes and end up being irrelevant or even harmful. But there is one piece of advice that I give to every American (sorry foreign friends, this isn’t for you) who wants to travel abroad: get a Charles Schwab checking account. (Note: if you use this link, you get a free $100 bonus once you sign up.) With no usage fees or costs, no minimum balance requirements, and no ATM fees, this is without a doubt the best checking account for any traveler.
Why? Simple: because carrying around a ton of cash suuuucks. Especially if you’re traveling to less-than-safe locales, it’s generally not a good idea to have a bunch of cash bulging out of your wallet. Now, you might be asking “But Danny, why can’t I just use my debit card abroad and withdraw cash like that?” Well, because your regular debit card is going to end up costing you money for each transaction. Debit cards abroad charge you for withdrawals in three ways: ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, or foreign exchange fees. The Charles Schwab checking account refunds all ATM fees and doesn’t charge foreign transaction or foreign exchange fees. This way, you can carry the bare minimum required amount of cash without having to worry about ATM fees adding up.
To top it all off, Charles Schwab’s customer service is the best I’ve received from any financial institution that I’ve ever had to interact with. When an ATM machine in Luang Prabang, Lao ate my debit card, not only did Charles Schwab pay to express ship me a new card all the way to Asia, they actually helped me pay back the phone charges that I accumulated calling for a replacement. They have always been prompt, professional, and helpful in their communications. So please, do yourself a favor, and sign up today.
Note: The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own and I am not being compensated in any way for my writing. There’s not even a referral program that gives me any kind of incentive to recommend Schwab to you; I am doing it because I truly believe that everybody who travels could benefit from this great program.