It’s been a terrible travel year in terms of efficiency and making rookie mistakes. I got deported from China for a visa issue, brought my golf clubs around the world just to torture myself with checked bags, and made mistake after mistake in saving money with my Charles Schwab Debit Card which refunds the cost of ATM fees around the world.
It all started when I arrived in Dubai in April and went to the ATM machine only to find that my Schwab card was expired. I only use the card abroad so it never crossed my mind to check the expiration date. When I returned to the US, I activated the new card, poised to not make the same mistake again. When I arrived in Grand Cayman, I couldn’t withdraw money from the new card because the funds had yet to clear. It takes up to 4 business days for funds to go through and I mindlessly forget to transfer it well in advance of my trip. After the funds finally cleared, I inexplicably (aguardiente) lost the card in Medellin, Colombia.
As a result of this stupidity, I have been paying ATM fees all over Russia, a pleasant reminder of my inattention to detail. My advice to any international traveler is to keep the Schwab card in the same place as your passport so you do not forget it and to keep a decent balance, say $300, so the account is always ready to go. It also goes without saying that aguardiente should be avoided unless you like paying to withdraw money.