The first thing that might come to mind is, cash. Yes if you convert enough currency for your trip (pay any fees that may apply) then you won’t have to worry about fees at the register or ATM.
But sometimes carrying around lots of cash isn’t a good idea. It’s inconvenient and you constantly have to worry about keeping it safe. Instead, I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card. It’s not just any credit card, it’s meant to go international.
First of all, it’s made out of metal. So you’ll look super cool whipping it out. But most importantly, you pay ZERO fees.
Yes, none. No matter where you go.
Plus, you’re earning points for every purchase.
I used this card throughout my entire study abroad and did not have a problem. Actually, in Barcelona I thought I lost it & called the toll-free number to cancel it. I ended up getting it back but Chase shipped me a new card all the way to Amsterdam within days!
You can use this card at any place that accepts VISA but do keep in mind some stores, depending on the country may not accept VISA.
Then this is when carry around cash is necessary. If you’re going to Europe, my tip is to always convert some money to Euros in the States (Chase bank does it) so you have cash on-hand for necessary things. Example, a cab to your hotel. Getting a train ticket or just buying some food.
For longer trips like studying abroad, I would suggest to bring a couple hundred in Euros. I converted about 300 dollars to euros for Amsterdam which helped a lot because I needed to buy a bike (around 80 euros), bedsheets, a mirror, WiFi router, groceries at Albert Heijn (which doesn’t accept VISA) etc.