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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #11  
Old 11-04-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

I am a Canuck now living in the States. I have a Capital One Venture Visa Card because it does not charge me International Transaction fees. I was using my AMEX out of country, but have stopped. The fees were a killer.
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Old 11-05-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

I think your best bet is to join a Yahoo group like Southbound (west coasters heading south to Central America and beyond) and ask Canadians that are out there their experiences.
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Old 11-05-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

Thanks for the tips Missingyou & mitiempo. I'll look into both.
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Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

In which countries will you be travelling.

For us, we use the largest and strongest bank in the USA - TD - which just happens to be a Canadian Bank - lol
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Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

On our first trip south we stopped in Troy NY. opened an account with HSBC and applied for a credit card (Visa - no fee). When the card was ready they sent it to Utschs (?) marina in Cap May where we met up with it. We have maintained a US account ever since.
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Old 11-07-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

I've had USD credit cards from both BMO (Mastercard) and now RBC (Visa). The cards are issued by Canadian banks, but operate in US$, no conversion fee on purchases, just one if you pay from CAD and none if you pay in USD. Also useful for online purchases while north of the 49th.
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Old 11-07-2013
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

Thanks guys. Our plans have us moving through the US first, then the Bahamas and the rest of the Carib. After that who knows... Either south into S. America, or west through the canal and beyond.

A US-dollar account will do us well for the first little while. Might go that route, but I think just getting one of those zero annual fees/zero foreign exchange fee cards seems to be the easier solution.

To be clear, I plan to operate large in local cash, using my debit card. I'm trying to find a reasonable balance between financial costs and simplicity.
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Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

mike,

i dont know about the currency exchange rates, but they are always above what you think they are. as to the fees. I dont think there are any canadian credit cards with annual fees any longer. I have MC, VISA and AMEx and none of them have any anuual fees attached to them and havent for over a decade. for US transactions you're probably better to have a US currency card, a USD bank account and take the currency hit when you transfer from CAD to USD at the bank account not the CC level
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmm View Post
i dont know about the currency exchange rates, but they are always above what you think they are. as to the fees. I dont think there are any canadian credit cards with annual fees any longer. I have MC, VISA and AMEx and none of them have any anuual fees attached to them and havent for over a decade. for US transactions you're probably better to have a US currency card, a USD bank account and take the currency hit when you transfer from CAD to USD at the bank account not the CC level
Thanks pcmm. I did go with a Canadian Amazon VISA. The reason is that it is one of only three Canadian cards that offer zero Foreign Currency Conversion fees. Almost every CC charges 2% to 3% on all foreign currency purchases. This is on top of any skewed currency conversion rates they may use (although they claim to use standard bank rates).

It's easy to find a zero annual fee card, but I found very few (3) in Canada, and not that many US cards that don't charge this additional currency conversion fee.

I didn't go the US account route b/c I don't think we'll be spending much time in the US. I'd like to, but the healthcare situation, and the need for expensive insurance, has me thinking we'll likely bypass all together, or blow through as fast as possible. Sad ... I wish we could linger.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Canadian Credit cards to travel with

Mike, I agree with you about the US. You would be nuts to be there without health insurance. We have an extended health care policy that includes foreign coverage for 92 days (why that number I have no idea). With the cost of out of Canada health insurance so high (because most Canadians are in the US), it would make sense to hop a flight back to Canada from the US for a few days every three months to reset the clock.

One thing with bank charges is that they will get you one way or another. A real annoyance is that in many countries the amount you can take out of ATM at any given time can be very limited so you need to make many withdrawals - often you can only do one withdrawal a day because there is only one ATM around. You have to plan ahead if you have a big ticket item that must be paid for in cash. In Bali we wanted to pay for the marina charge in cash because they added 5% for credit card payments. I think we had to go to the ATM 4 days in a row to get the money out, millions of rupiah. I think the bill was something like 2.7 million rupiah - you feel really rich when you have millions in your pocket.

Thoughts if you are taking cash. I assume you can figure out where to hide it on the boat, but we lost track of one of our stashes at one point for a week or so. We had it taped inside the face of a locker and the tape gave out so the envelope with a couple of thousand in it fell down into a nook and/or cranny. You only want US bills and in many places they will only take the most recent series of bills (harder to counterfeit?). In some places they will only take bills in very good to new condition. In some places you go to a bank to do exchanges, in other countries it will be a forex office. With the latter, rates can vary incredibly and generally have little to do with official rates except perhaps for US dollars. Most forex places will take Euros, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, etc but the rates will suck compared to US bucks. Some merchants will take US dollars so check around. We bought a solar panel in Papeete and they quoted a price in local currency and US dollars. The latter was at a rate way better than anything we could have gotten in any other way.

It is also a good idea to have a couple of hundred dollars US in small bills ($1 to $10). Some countries use US currency (Panama and Ecuador come to mind) and $100 bills are useless unless you can find a bank. Ask us how we know.
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Last edited by killarney_sailor; 05-05-2014 at 08:34 AM.
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