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That's a good point. We also had a setback (almost)last summer in Ireland last summer. We were assured that our regular bank Visa debit card would be good in ATMs over there. Well, guess what. The ATMs over there told us "insufficint balance", which was even worse, in our minds than not reading the card. So we used credit cards at the machines for cash advances, which didn't work out too badly, but more expensive due to the cash-advance charges. When we got back we found out that our bank routinely blocks incoming debits from overseas, unless specifically authorized. This made my wife really mad, because she had asked about the card, at the same time she bought some pounds and euros there.

Blocking a card if there's no advance notice of a trip is pretty typical. Also, in some countries you can have trouble if your PIN is more than 4 digits. I always notify credit cards (I carry 2 when travelling) and Citibank (for my ATM card) when I leave the country.

If I'm gone for 3-4 weeks I enter $100 payments into PC Banking (to be paid mid-trip) for the 2 cards I'm taking, even though both cards have a zero balance when I leave. A statement can come in for charges made on the trip and if you're not back in time you can get a late charge. This happened to me last year and although the CC company cancelled the fee it was a nuisance.
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