It's cash in Chile; paper in Peru

My husband and I are visiting South America for about a month. We will be in Peru for 10 days, Argentina (including Patagonia) for 14 days and Chile for six days. We have a CBA Mastercard, an Amex credit card and a CBA bank card. Using credit cards will incur forex charges by the credit card companies and I don't feel quite comfortable using my bank card to withdraw local currencies at ATMs. Apart from cash, could you please suggest some options for accessing money when our cash runs out while we are away?

- C. Lee, Weston, Canberra.

I would have no hesitation using ATMs to withdraw local currency in Chile and Argentina. Choose a busy time of day and a busy area in a mid-city location and you should have no problems. You run more of a risk when using ATMs in Peru. See the Peru travel advice from Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (fco.gov.uk) for specific advice relating to ATMs.

For the Peru part of your journey, consider taking traveller's cheques, which you can exchange for cash in the security of your hotel or at a bank. I would not recommend carrying a substantial amount of cash when you leave Australia.

While you can't entirely escape fees from banks and other credit providers when you travel, the Tripologist recommends the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard (wizardclearadvantage.com.au), which charges no international transaction fees or annual fees.

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