My friends and I are going on a road trip in the US. We're wondering what kind of money we should take, be it a credit card, debit card, pre-paid card or just cash. We're going for two weeks. Does anyone has any experience what works the best in the US and how to avoid hidden bank transactions/ATM fees?


1 Answer 1


When I've travelled in the USA, I take (in order of preference)

  • Credit Card
  • Cash
  • ATM Card

I found that all places accepted foreign Credit Cards without a problem. Your credit card provider can inform you of the fees for transactions in the USA. In addition, your provider will be able to replace your card if it gets lost or stolen.

I used a Visa credit card.

It's worth taking a small amount of cash. Depending on where you're going, a small pizza restaurant won't take a card for a $1.99 slice. Food and drink vending machines often only accept cash. Buses are also usually cash only. Tipping for personal services (like hotel staff carrying your bags) is usually cash.

Take a small amount of cash - I'd suggest $50 - 100 should be fine for emergencies / sundries.

Finally, take an ATM card and put it somewhere separate from your credit cards and cash. American ATMs can charge outrageous fees for transactions. Speak to your bank to see how much they charge as well.

In all cases, tell your bank & credit card company when you'll be in the USA so that they don't block your card & leave you stranded.

  • Different Credit Cards can also charge different overseas fees, so it can also be worth looking into getting one with lower / no fees before you go (assuming they exist in your country of residency)
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 13:08
  • Admittedly this was 10 years ago in 2004, but I once had trouble using a UK Visa card to buy a plane ticket. The airline wouldn't accept it online or by phone, and said the reason was the address, but that I could use it at the airline's desk at an airport. The airport I paid at wasn't involved in the flight I was buying, the difference was that it was a cardholder-present transaction. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 14:34
  • 1
    Please dubble check if your card is accepted. My card (Maestro) was only accepted in the big venue's (i.e. Walmart).
    – Michiel
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 14:34
  • 2
    Maestro is hardly accepted anywhere. Even I always carry my primary Visa card and a master card to get some offers. You should be fine with either of those.
    – AKS
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 15:24
  • 1
    Also, make sure to inform your CC company beforehand, so they expect withdrawals from the correct country. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 16:17

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