Do you carry emergency cash when you go to a foreign country?

When I travel, I rarely have any local currency before arriving in a foreign country. I go to an ATM in the airport and get some. However, I recently heard this from a friend:

As a banker I advise customers to obtain a small amount of currency before leaving as “just in case” or convenience cash. Your bank should be able to provide it to you but it will depend on the bank as will the timing and fees. Try to request at least 3 business days ahead of departure if possible in case your bank doesn’t carry that currency on hand at your location.

The rate you will get at your bank will be OK, but not the best, and you may pay a fee for the transaction as well, again depending on your bank. But it is likely to be better than the rate you would receive at an exchange at the airport. Note that the rates you see on the internet are estimated wholesale rates and are not reflective of what you should expect for a small retail transaction.

The best rates are generally provided by Visa for your card purchases and withdrawals while overseas. Whether your bank charges you a fee for ATM withdrawals from other banks varies; you may have an account or option which waives such fees which would make foreign ATM withdrawals your best option.

Do you carry emergency cash when you go to a foreign country?

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