On credit cards
I have traveled extensively overseas and have never run into any problems using my US credit cards. I usually use my Capital One Visa, as I think I get better rates with it. I never use debit cards.
A few years ago in Denmark, a chocolate shop wouldn’t take my American Express card. The store owner told me they could send their Visa and MasterCard charges in one package and the processing center would separate them, but American Express wouldn’t cooperate, so the store just didn’t accept AmEx.
Also, I never notify my credit card issuers that I’m going someplace. It seems to me that the more you talk to those personnel, the better chance there is that your card will have a hold put on it. So far, I’ve never had a problem having a hold put on my card. (November ’09 is when I last used a credit card overseas, in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Austria.)
It’s really easy to get so wrapped up in the details that we forget to have a good time!