Today was “fix all the finances!” day. I spent some time with an advisor from my bank, who helped me get myself in order for the trip.
I should start with a warning. I’m from Small Town, Nova Scotia and apparently it’s very rare for someone to go into my bank branch to request travel advice. The lady who served me, while helpful, was ill prepared. She had to look a lot of things up while I was there in order to find answers to my questions. If you’re looking for help from the bank, it might be good to expect this. I certainly didn’t.
On the plus side though, a lot was accomplished. My mother’s name was added to the account, in case someone needed to access it from Canada while I was away. I was able to find out how I could safely use my debit and credit cards overseas while avoiding having my bank shut down my accounts. Best of all, I got $200 back!
It turns out that the bank was overcharging me monthly for service charges. I always thought $20-$40 a month was high, but who am I to judge? I know nothing about banking. When the clerk saw the numbers today, she was astounded. She immediately set me up with a lower service charge rate and then reimbursed me the difference between my new rate and what I had paid, going back two years. This kind gesture gives me another $200 toward my trip!
I highly recommend going to the bank before leaving for an extended trip. You never know what you’ll find!