Withdrawing cash abroad varies depending on who your account is with back home so you need to check out the rates before you leave.
My current account is with Nationwide. I have to pay £1 for every foreign withdrawal and around 2.5% of the withdrawal. So if I withdraw $400 I pay £1 (standard foreign withdrawal rate) and around £5 (percentage of amount withdrawn). Unfortunately my current account only allows me to withdraw £250 at one time which I’ve figured out equates to $440. I didn’t even think about enquiring to expanding this limit before I left to enable me to withdraw more at once. In future would contact the bank to see if this can be changed.
The other thing to be mindful of is that once you are in America, different banks charge you different fees for withdrawing. In New York I found Bank of America charged different amounts depending on what street you were on – varying between $1-4. I found TD Bank and Wells Fargo being the best as they don’t charge at all.
American coins can be quite a pain. You always need a good supply of quarters for laundrettes, parking etc. Americans are quite laid back in the sense that if something is $3.03 they will give you $2 change from $5 rather than $1.97. But overtime I have accumulated a ziploc bag of coins, which I have told Faye she can throw them all in the next fountain we see!