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Documents and Cards

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Covey, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Walking the Camino requires you to carry identity documents and cash cards so you can draw money from ATM's, as well as insurance documents.

    You need your National Passport so you can get in and out of France/Spain and your Pilgrim Passport so you can sleep in the Albergues along the Way.

    Your National Passport/Identity Card should be carried on your person at all times and NOT kept in your rucksack. I always keep mine wrapped up in a plastic self sealing food bag in my trouser map pocket, along with my Pilgrim Passport. You will need to show your Pilgrim Passport (and occasionally your National Passport) to check in to any Albergue. Always make sure you get the Pilgrim Passport stamped when you check in. Even the best hotels in Burgos & Leon etc will have a stamp to put in your Pilgrim Passport!!

    It is important to understand that ALL THE CAMINO ROUTES WORK ON A CASH BASIS, and that very very few bars/shops and no albergues take credit/debit cards or any other form of payment plastic. Do not even bother carrying Amex, Diners or Travellers Cheques.

    You should start off your Camino with €200/250 in cash in small denomination notes. Paying a €5 albergue fee with a €50 or €100 note will not win you any friends!! Draw cash from a bank ATM in the bigger towns if possible. There are a lot of different Spanish banks ranging from Santander which is a very large international bank, to very small regional savings banks (Caja's).

    A lot of the smaller banks have ATM's which are not on the worldwide Visa or Mastercard system, so you will not get any money. When you see a Santander branch, use their ATM because they always work well with international Visa and Mastercard cards. Most of the major bank's ATM's are multi lingual so will switch to your language when you insert the card.

    You should always carry TWO cash cards which will allow you to draw cash from ATM's. If arriving in France/Spain from the USA/Canada, make sure you have told your bank where you are going and for how long and stick a piece of paper in your National Passport with the card numbers and international dial phone numbers for your banks customer help desk, and any reference numbers/contact details you have for your advising the bank that you were going abroad.

    The problem with cards from the USA/Canada is not one of credit worthiness, but spending patterns. All credit card companies have software which is designed to detect patterns of spending and will block use of the card where it appears that its use is suddenly "unusual". The European banks assume their customers frequently travel around Europe, but it seems that banks in the Americas view travel outside ones home country without warning to be an "unusual event".

    An unusual event might be a very high value transaction where you normally only spend $100 max per transaction, or WHERE the card is being used. If you have spent the last 5 years living in New York and using your card, and 48 hours after you last used it in NY it suddenly it pops up in an ATM in Spain asking for a cash withdrawal it will be blocked, unless you have told the card company that you will be in France and Spain for xx weeks and will want to draw cash from ATM's.

    Having told your card company of your travel plans, phone them back a few days later to double check that the information has been placed on the account. It is easier to do this from the comfort of your home, than standing in the rain outside a call box in some remote Spanish village!!

    If you are a resident of the EC, then you should also carry your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which you obtain from your health service at home. This will cover the costs of receiving treatment to the same level as at home. It does NOT cover the cost of repatriation or an air ambulance!!

    The cost of travel insurance within the EC is cheap, so it is advisable to purchase full Travel Insurance as well as carrying your Health Insurance Card to cover the non medical aspects of your trip. Be aware that most "off the shelf" travel policies only cover a single trip of up to 28 days. If you are walking the Camino Frances from St Jean to Finesterre, you may be away for up to 8 weeks.:D


    If you arrive from outside the EC you should purchase travel insurance to cover any medical costs and the costs of being returned home. Keep a copy of the policy number and contact details in your National Passport and make sure that your Next of Kin/ Best Friend at Home also has a copy.

    The Spanish Health Service is excellent and if you are an EC resident and have your European Health Insurance Card, it requires no payment at the point of treatment, as any bill is sent directly to your national Health Ministry.

    You will normally be asked for your EHIC if an EC resident and your National Passport/ID Card, OR, evidence of medical insurance on arrival at a hospital, so always carry these items on you at all times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
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  2. Oak Hill Walkers

    Oak Hill Walkers New Member

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    Spot on advice! Make it a sticky.
     
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  3. Marcel

    Marcel New Member

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    you dont suggest to take say 1500 euro on your walk,is that for any particular reason.

    thanks
     
  4. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    For a number of reasons really.

    Firstly, most Pilgrims would not feel too comfortable carrying a large sum of cash and I generally suggest drawing cash in €200 lots which should last you 5 days a time.

    Secondly, Pilgrims walk the Camino's in all sorts of ways. Some aim for 40kms a day and others will wander along and just do 10-15kms a day. It is your Camino, and you walk it whichever way you like, so the number of days to complete whichever Camino you are planning will vary.

    Thirdly, the "daily rate" covers what you need to spend on the trail "on average". If you have a rest day in Burgos you will need a cheap hotel which will cost you say €50 per night, but crossing the Meseta between Burgos and Leon is a low expenditure part of the Camino so your daily outlay is low. What the daily rate does not cover is getting to St Jean, insurances, kit etc.
     
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  5. Joe Freitag

    Joe Freitag New Member

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    Side note on banks: I recently traveled to Canada from the US for a long backpacking trip. Told my bank (a major bank) that I was going and the dates of my flights and where I'd be.... With the very first purchase bells and whistles went off back home. My wife got 2 phone calls from the bank and an email notice every time I used either my debit or credit card. Then when I returned to civilization and a return to the States, another phone call and the emails continued every time I used either card. It has me worried about my next trip overseas. What if my wife hadn't picked up the phone to confirm it was okay I was using the card? Would they have put a hold on it?
     
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  6. Anthony de Lyon

    Anthony de Lyon New Member

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    This is very sound advice, particularly the need for US / Canada citizens to inform their banks about their plans and to carry the corresponding contact numbers. While European pilgrims probably don’t need to contact their banks beforehand, I think it’s highly advisable for them to carry bank contact details as well, so they can act quickly to block a lost or stolen card.
     
  7. Devon Mike

    Devon Mike Well-Known Member

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    I use one of the major UK banks and they do require notification if I wish to use my card outside the UK, otherwise it will be blocked.
     
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  8. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    Mike
    That's a very interesting comment. My bank has been telling me for some time ( 2 years) that i don't need to inform them when travelling within the EU. Yes when travelling outside the EU. The reason given was most transactions were made using Pin & chip in EU. Whereas outside the EU the use of chip & pin are limited, and C&D cards transactions are signed and more open to misuse by fraud or stolen. I also understand they use other security measures like expenditure profiles etc if there were any single large amounts or a lot of transactions in a short period of time .etc.
    All I can say to date I've had no problems with this approach using my C & D cards and withdrawing money from ATMs when travelling in the EU to date.

    In the end, its what you think important regarding protecting you money from misuse of cards if stolen or fraud. etc. when travelling in or out of the EU. The acid test I assume will be if and when it happens. What I can say when I was in Canada about 6 years ago. I was checking my C cards receipts against my statements. I noticed that 1 of the receipt's didn't match what was on my statement , I rang the bank they refunded the difference and were going to take this up with the outlet. It was a clear a act fraudulence by a member of staff.

    I always carry my banks emergency 24 hrs number which is free of charge should I need to contact them , if I loose or have my C&D cards stolen.

    Beun Camino.

    RJ
     
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  9. Devon Mike

    Devon Mike Well-Known Member

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    Hi RJ,

    Perhaps not all UK banks work the same way. I am with NatWest.

    Mike
     
  10. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    QUOTE="Devon Mike, post: 36013, member: 19772"]Hi RJ,

    Perhaps not all UK banks work the same way. I am with NatWest.

    Mike[/QUOTE]
    Mike
    As you said not all banks are the same and have different T&C, and its about what works for you and which bank you are comfortable with traditional or online banking. I have a Coop n line account which works for me. A lot of my friends would not use a online banking account, they don't believe its safe. In the end its about choosing a bank & account that meets and serves your needs.

    Its always a pleasure exchanging views

    RJ
     
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