Getting cash while traveling is difficult at times. ATMs may not accept your card, they might not be operational, or they might not be safe. I remember a few times in Brazil when I was warned to stay away from certain ATMs because thieves had rigged them with little machines that copied your card number and pin code strokes. Scary, to say the least. But, alas, we all need cash at some point while traveling. Here are some pointers:
1. In the US, withdraw cash from your home bank, carry it with you, and exchange when you get to your vacation spot. This manner of carrying money is best because you do not incur ATM fees and you get the best exchange rate on the ground. Do not exchange money inside airports ever!
2. If you are traveling in the USA and cannot locate a home bank and still need cash you can do a few things:
a.) Use your debit card at a store and get cash back. NO FEES! The usual stores that always allow cash back are CVS, 7 Eleven, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Publix, Krogers, Ralphs.
b.) If you cannot locate one of these major chains then you can always go to the tried-and-true U.S. Post Office, purchase anything, perhaps one envelope (58 cents) with your debit card and THEY will ask if you want cash back. Why, yes, should be your reply! NO FEES!
c.) If you belong to a federal credit union then you can also use the ATM machines around the country that belong to the credit union co-op. You can find them online. You incur NO FEES for withdrawals! Most 7-Elevens have co-op machines by the way.
3. When in foreign countries you will usually have to bite the bullet and pay fees. Usually around $5 bucks total. It is thus always best to take out as much as you think you will need for a substantial period at one time.