A part of my travel plans is not as Karl Malden would put it “American Express, Don't Leave Home Without It”, but “Don't Leave Home Without A Few Benjamins, Jacksons And Washingtons”.
The thought behind this is that I avoid or minimize using my credit cards and paying what I consider to be ridiculous “foreign transaction” fees.
When my I run out of my friendly President's, I simply find an ATM and withdraw local currency without any fees except those that may be charged for using the ATM. After all, I am using my own money and this way I do not end up with a big credit card bill when I get home.
This plan has worked well for me almost everywhere that I have traveled except in Japan, I run into a bit of dilemma. Apparently, most ATM's here do not accept credit/cash cards issued by foreign banks.
However, the banks here will exchange your “Green Backs” without any transaction fee. This is a process that requires your passport and takes about twenty minutes to complete.