First, if you do not know how much your current credit card company charges for international transactions, contact customer service to find out. The vast majority will inform you that this fee is three percent. With the US dollar sagging, paying an extra three percent on every purchase can really hurt the wallet. Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid these charges.
If you have cash available, using a debit card eliminates this fee. Most banks do not tack on a transaction fee for ATM withdrawals. Plus, the foreign currency rate you'll get from your bank is often significantly better than what you would get at a foreign currency exchange booth. Again, exchange rates and potential fees vary from bank to bank, so it is important to call ahead.