Banking: beware that you may run into ATMs/banks that DON’T accept cards with chips. If you are using an ATM you get an error that your transaction can’t be processed…not that the machine doesn’t accept cards with chips. We found this problem in Santa Elena Costa Rica although it probably isn’t an issue in larger cities.
If possible, you will want to use a company that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. USAA, and at least some Citbank and Bank of America cards do not charge this fee. USAA even rebates the ATM fee up to a certain limit each month. (You must have been in the military or a family member of someone who has been in the military to join…no checking account fees, free checks, etc. They are great to work with too!)
Oh and remember to let your bank/credit card company know that you will be traveling so that transactions are not denied as being potentially fraudulent. You can do this online with most banks/companies or via the phone. It is usually very easy to set up.
Shipping: remember the supplements that I had shipped to me in Costa Rica? Long story short, the Minister of Health must not know how to search online to get a list of ingredients because after I was told that I couldn’t find out anything for at least 30 days I went to their office (post 30 days) only to find a letter dated before the 30 days was up saying they needed to know the ingredients in the supplement. By then I didn’t have time to deal with it and thought I could have my package returned and at least I would get my $150 for the products credited back to me.
Today I found out that the package was destroyed at some point so the moral is, don’t have supplements of any kind shipped to Costa Rica…and probably not anywhere. Hopefully I can find things or friends can bring things to me if/when they visit. Come on now, we miss you. Think about a trip to visit us!