Called Citi and interestingly, they DO charge a fee if you pay in local currency with the "world" card. So you're damned if you don't and damned if you do... Either cc transaction fee, or dynamic currency conversion, they get you either way.
So get a better credit card
Quite a few charge no foreign transaction fees for purchases in local currency... here's a bunch of em-
I am still a bit confused why I can't just take cash and exchange it at a "regular" bank. I guess regular banks simply don't want my hard earned dollars. Compared to say, street corners in Mexico.
Banks would love your hard-earned dollars but in many cases, you pay a significantly worse exchange rate than the ATM in their lobby. They have additional labor costs associated with swapping bills at the window and pass them along to customers. Plus, they're only open 40 or less hours per week, not good when you just need cash in Paris at 7pm on a Saturday night.
We exchanged about $100 each at an exchange house in NY just to have some cash on us. I don't remember what it cost, but we did better when we exchanged at ATMs in Europe. If your bank charges $5 flat rate, then exchange larger amounts at a time -- but then you are carrying cash. Last trip, we had euros left over and just brought them home for the next trip.
I have a Capital One credit card and have never paid a foreign transaction fee -- but I've only used it to charge -- never to get cash. There's some info from Fodor's travel site that may be worth reading: http://www.fodors.com/news/exchan...-3870.html
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