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Old 03-09-2016, 04:29 PM   #2701
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drive to Waterton and stay there for hikes
drive to Glacier and hike
Be sure to carry the Grizzly Bear bells!
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:31 PM   #2702
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Be sure to carry the Grizzly Bear bells!
Apparently some recommend bear spray too. We have some bells around from decades ago, I think. And you are suppose to make some noise. Not sure I want to go around singing.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:36 PM   #2703
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Apparently some recommend bear spray too. We have some bells around from decades ago, I think. And you are suppose to make some noise. Not sure I want to go around singing.
The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:40 PM   #2704
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Bear scat would bother me almost as much as them charging.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:42 PM   #2705
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PIN priority? Well you really need it if you're driving and need to refill at a gas station kiosk.

Schwab has good ATM card, with chip and their iPhone app will show the withdrawals right away, with Touch ID to log in.
Not sure I understand.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:49 PM   #2706
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Was asking if your Capital 1 credit card was chipped and supported PIN offline. That would be good for buying gas at an unattended gas station kiosk.

Schwab investor checking account comes with fee-free ATM card, which is chipped and easy to track with iPhone app. I don't really have any investments with Schwab though. I got the ATM card when I used to have a Schwab credit card that offered 2% cash back. So I transfer some money into the Schwab checking account to use on overseas withdrawals.

I think my credit union debit card will also offer no-fee withdrawals but the Schwab card has some nicer features, like the iPhone app. to see transactions right away.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:53 PM   #2707
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Not sure I understand.
I think he means if you need to use an automated kiosk, like an at unattended gas station, you want a chip and PIN credit card, like PenFed and some others issue. Capitol One doesn't issue chip and PIN credit cards. None of the main banks do except Barclays. A few credit unions issue them.

Otherwise you'll need to buy your gas at an attended gas station and buy train/bus tickets at a manned counter rather than at an automated kiosk. It just requires a little more planning.

And, just because you have a chip and PIN credit card doesn't mean a given company automated kiosk will accept it. Some don't accept "foreign" (i.e. non-EU) issued credit cards regardless.

I got a PenFed chip and PIN card, although I rarely use it overseas, but it's there if I need to use the PIN.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:54 PM   #2708
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Was asking if your Capital 1 credit card was chipped and supported PIN offline. That would be good for buying gas at an unattended gas station kiosk.

Schwab investor checking account comes with fee-free ATM card, which is chipped and easy to track with iPhone app. I don't really have any investments with Schwab though. I got the ATM card when I used to have a Schwab credit card that offered 2% cash back. So I transfer some money into the Schwab checking account to use on overseas withdrawals.

I think my credit union debit card will also offer no-fee withdrawals but the Schwab card has some nicer features, like the iPhone app. to see transactions right away.
I see. Not sure. Just applied, I'll have to figure out what it does. The Fido cash management account gives an ATM card that is also no-fee. This is what I'll plan on using outside the US.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:58 PM   #2709
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Yeah I wouldn't get more cards or open more accounts. Just outlining some other options.

On Flyertalk, there's a running thread about the different exchange rates people are seeing with their supposed no foreign fee credit cards.

Chase Visa is about 1% higher than Mastercards from other institutions, for example.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:03 PM   #2710
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I see. Not sure. Just applied, I'll have to figure out what it does. The Fido cash management account gives an ATM card that is also no-fee. This is what I'll plan on using outside the US.
The Fido ATM card is not foreign transaction fee free. It charges 1% on foreign transactions, passing the VISA foreign exchange fee through. It reimburses ATM fees, which is nice. Although I haven't run into an ATM fee in Europe.

That's lower than most ATM cards, but not 0.

Capitol One 360 and Charles Schwab Bank are the only 0% foreign exchange fee ATM cards I'm aware of. Schwab Bank also reimburses ATM fees like the Fidelity ATM card.

I'm not counting Discover Bank because apparently their acceptance is low overseas. Maybe because they're not part of the VISA network.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:15 PM   #2711
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The Fido ATM card is not foreign transaction fee free. It charges 1% on foreign transactions, passing the VISA foreign exchange fee through. It reimburses ATM fees, which is nice. Although I haven't run into an ATM fee in Europe.

That's lower than most ATM cards, but not 0.
I've seen that, and am still thinking about a Schwab account .. but so many accounts to keep track of, a real hassle. I did see multiple threads over at FlyerTalk that insist that Fidelity does not charge any exchange fee on ATM withdrawals, only debit card use.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:18 PM   #2712
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Trying to save 1% probably isn't worth the hassle, unless you plan to withdraw hundreds of Euros and pay in cash everywhere instead of using the credit card.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:25 PM   #2713
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Just got back from two weeks + on the Viking Star. This is Viking's first "big ship" (not a river cruiser) and it was very nice. Since it was our first ocean (well, sea) cruise I can't compare it to other ships, but it was quite enjoyable.

We traveled from Barcelona Spain, to Toulon France, Monte Carlo Monaco, Ajaccio Corsica France, Livorno Italy (Florence/Pisa), Civitacecchia Italy (Rome), Naples Italy, Valletta Malta, Trapani Sicily Italy, Palma de Mallorca Spain, Valencia Spain, and back to Barcelona. We were suppose to stop in Cagliari Sardina Italy, but skipped this to avoid a storm.

Excursions were similar to the river cruises. Every port had an included excursion which is run pretty much the same way the river cruise excursions are run. There were additional ones for extra and we added a Vatican tour and a winery visit in France. We especially enjoyed a Gaudy tour in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia was really amazing.

Can't say enough about this trip. DW and I really enjoyed it. It's much like the Viking river cruises, but bigger. All the rooms have balconies and are bigger than the rooms on their river boats (king size beds). The food was excellent, with more variety than on the river. With just over 900 guests on board it is small enough to not be too overwhelming - and to allow it into smaller ports (I doubt Monte Carlo can accommodate a much larger boat).

The ship never felt crowded - there are plenty of places to go to relax, read, or listen to live music. I really like the explorer's lounge viewing the water ahead.

We liked that basically everything was included in the base price. All food (even room service) was included. Two "special restaurants" were included as well - we ate at each one twice. Unlimited wine/beer with dinner too - there is a liquor package for those who want it. Coffees and teas and snacks are available at all times. We used the free laundry. They do automatically add tipping at the end at a standard rate, though you can adjust that to whatever you think is fair.

It was kind of interesting to order from a menu that had no prices on it. Nice really, it made it easy to pick what sounded best each night without thinking about price.

I knew they were building more copies of this ship - the second is in sea trials right now. They said they have now ordered a total of six. With plans to deploy them widely. Taking one of these to see Japan and China might be an interesting way to go.

It's the same crowd as their river cruises - mostly older retired folks. No kids, but a few younger adults. We enjoyed the company of the other cruisers from around the US, Canada, a few brits/aussies and a few others. We even ran into one couple we meet on a previous river cruise and had a nice dinner with them.

Our only disappointment was that the itinerary changed after the attacks on tourists in Tunisia. We were suppose to visit Tunis (I was looking forward to seeing the ruins of Carthage) and Algers, but those stops got cancelled. Instead they added Naples, Trapani, and Palma (and cut one sea day). It worked out OK, but we meet a few others on board who also were disappointed in the change. Still, understandable.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:28 PM   #2714
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I've seen that, and am still thinking about a Schwab account .. but so many accounts to keep track of, a real hassle. I did see multiple threads over at FlyerTalk that insist that Fidelity does not charge any exchange fee on ATM withdrawals, only debit card use.
Well - I have this ATM card to. And I have it as a backup card overseas. 1% is still lower than most exchange rates, to it's not terrible. But I use the Schwab card as much as I can in Europe.

But I'll use the Fidelity card in Hawaii (no BofA there).

I guess you have to fact check FlyerTalk conversations.
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Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.
This is in fine print footnote 1 regarding ATM fees reimbursement. https://www.fidelity.com/cash-management/atm-debit-card
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:30 PM   #2715
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I think the key point that others have made is that if you're in Europe and you really need a true chip&PIN card (not the chip & signature card that most are), you just have to have one. Unattended train station kiosks, parking lots, toll booths, etc.

Several years ago, I got a Visa from Andrews FCU (anyone can join) and it has worked well for me in Europe. Sometimes it wants a signature, but only in places where that's easy (such as restaurants). At unattended locations, it's true chip&PIN. Of course, you have to be aware of some places where they simply won't accept any card not issued in the EU (like the kiosks in German and some Belgian train stations), but I've never encountered one of those where there wasn't a nearby counter to deal with a person. At truly unattended places (parking lots, etc.) I've never had a problem.

Be aware that they do charge a FTF, but when push comes to shove, and you absolutely need a true Chip & PIN, this is a good card that has proven very useful for me.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:36 PM   #2716
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The PenFed chip and PIN card has no foreign transaction fee, for whatever it's worth. I have the PenFed Cash Rewards VISA which also gives me 5% back on gas purchases.
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:07 PM   #2717
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Just got back from two weeks + on the Viking Star.
...
So you've done river cruises and are just embarking on ocean/sea cruising? I'm just the opposite, having done only one river cruise. What I was saying agrees with what I guess you're saying...ocean and river cruises are possibly more similar than one might think. Especially true when you've got the Viking policy to include shore excursions and include alcoholic drinks with dinner (most ocean cruises charge big prices for both of those things). If I'm going to sail the Med, it's going to be on a smaller ship (ie Windstar or similar).
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:48 AM   #2718
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This is one we are deferring until 2017. It appears now is too late for us to make optimal reservations:

fly into Calgary
drive to Waterton and stay there for hikes
drive to Glacier and hike
drive up to Banff for a day or two
***
drive up the parkway and see some nice scenery plus glaciers
stay in Jaspar for some days, good hikes
back to Calgary for flight
Make sure to visit Lake Louise
Also you can enter Glacier by boat from Waterton for hiking
Some nice hot springs side trips too.
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:32 AM   #2719
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This is one we are deferring until 2017. It appears now is too late for us to make optimal reservations:

fly into Calgary
drive to Waterton and stay there for hikes
drive to Glacier and hike
drive up to Banff for a day or two
drive up the parkway and see some nice scenery plus glaciers
stay in Jasper for some days, good hikes
back to Calgary for flight
Sounds great! I have attached the story of our Western Canada trip last year We are happy to answer any questions
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Western Canada 2015.pdf (1.68 MB, 14 views)
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:27 AM   #2720
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Make sure to visit Lake Louise
Also you can enter Glacier by boat from Waterton for hiking
Some nice hot springs side trips too.
Do you mean that one can get to a trailhead by boat or is this a car ferry?
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