You should think about how to get cash for everyday expenses during your study away semester. Options include: ATMs, credit cards, and travelers cheques (now less commonly used).
You will also want to have a plan for how to store cash. Money belts and luggage locks are good options. It’s also best to not put all your cash in one place.
ATMs — Fees can add up
ATMs are often the most convenient way to get cash while traveling. However, fees can really add up. Find out if your bank is part of an international network. If it is, you could avoid some out of network charges. Security with ATMs is also an issue. Go to ATMs during the day or during bank hours. Whenever possible, try to use an ATM inside a bank instead of one on the street. Ask program staff or other locals how they decide whether an ATM is safe.
Inform your credit card company about your travel plans. Otherwise, they may assume your card has been stolen and put a hold on your account. Credit card use varies widely by location. Find out where it’s safe to use a credit card and only use it there. Before leaving, it is also important to find out how to cancel your cards quickly in case they are stolen.
Watch an orientation video on study away finances and safety (video)