Charles Schwab, the Traveler's Dream Bank

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Charles Schwab may just seem like another financial institution, but if you look a little closer you may be surprised at what they offer. First off, it's helpful to keep a separate bank account for traveling as you can see exactly what you are spending on your trip and keeps your travel funds organized. While traveling a few years ago, we met a couple who mentioned a bank in their country that with a minor fee per month they could withdraw an unlimited amount of money and be reimbursed for the fees incurred, which made us look for a similar option in a US bank. Then after some research we found Charles Schwab.

Why we love it:

It’s Free
There is no cost for setting up the account. No annual fees. No fees for transferring from one bank account to another.

Reimburse ATM Fees
It’s true. All ATM fees. Anywhere in the world! Seriously. For those of you who have traveled using a debit card you know those fees add up. Especially if you have a small budget. The fees can add up to around 10 percent per withdrawal. That can be around ten dollars or almost one whole day of travel per each $100 you withdraw. Charles Schwab charges you no fees at all and then the fees the other bank, or the ATM charges you, which you still have to pay are reimbursed by sweet Charles at the end of the month. What a guy! I’ve searched and searched and it seems that is one of the only banks that offers you that without any fees on top of it!

But that’s not all...

Pyay: A Special Place in Myanmar

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Reading our article on Myanmar’s people, you can see how that can be one of the main draws in coming to Myanmar. Not to sit and gawk and take pictures of the people, but to befriend them and learn a type of honest generosity and friendliness that exists very rarely in the world, Pyay is one of those places where we went and though the sites we saw were unimpressive we left with one of the best experiences and the happiest of memories.

The story begins in Bago where Aurelien met an old university friend who ended up suggesting for us to go to Pangabar Guesthouse as they were friendly, cheap, and had the best breakfast possible. Pyay would make a convenient stop between Yangon and Mandalay (or Bagan) and of course we are always eager to discover places not really on the tourist map.

Leaving Bago we went to Yangon, spent two days and then went to the bus station to get our tickets for Pyay. Waiting for the bus we had a few hours to kill so we decided to hang out in the conveniently located Beer Garden to try our first Myanmar draught beer. Drinking our beer we ended up chatting with a super friendly local who ended up giving us his card as he turned out to be the manager of the guesthouse we were already planning to visit. As he handed us his card I pulled out the card that our friend had already given us and we had a few laughs and he bought us a round of beers and some snacks.

Myanmar: A Land of Spectacular People

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When people recommend a place to visit it is usually based on its beauty, or sites, but Myanmar has other reasons for visiting. Myanmar is a country of vast natural beauty, and a plethora of temples and religious sites, but the main reason for visiting is the people.

Myanmar’s people have suffered a lot under a series of unjust governments and continues to do so today, but this seems to have only made the people friendly and happy though with unevenly spread wealth and little options in life. People in Myanmar are called Burmese. But the Burmese only refers to one of the several tribes that make up Myanmar so I refrain from using that term.

Myanmar’s people are very traditional even in the most modern of cities almost every man and woman will be wearing the traditional longgyi, which is similar to a long sarong. Different tribes or regions have different sarongs and people can be identified by their longgyi. In Myanmar everyone should try going to a local market and buying a longgyi with the help (ask for it) of surrounding locals as tying the longgyi takes a special technique.

Four women with their beautiful longgyis.