Just a comment on the original posters observation. I think many fail to do the math and fall victim to the scary interest rate numbers, overlooking the value of a credit card cash advance as one tool of several for your travels.
Yes, a debit card at an atm that has no fees is the best. But in the original example, their CC charges a 3% Foreign Transaction Fee for a regular transaction, no fee but an 18% interest rate from time of the transaction for cash advance. The poster seems to have no issues with using a card with a 3% FTF, spending $1000 would cost you $1030. However, if they withdrew $1000 equivalent from an ATM, at 18% and not paying until 1 month later, it would only cost $1015 to repay the money with interest, or a cost of 1.5%. Of course, as soon as the transaction posts you can pay online nowadays, dropping that to almost nothing, or like my card, they charge a minimum interest fee (.50 cents). The poster does not mention any other fees associated with cash advance, it is more common to wave the FTF, but charge a flat fee or percentage instead. For my card, it would cost me about 5% in total, worse than my ATM card, worse than most of my CC for a regular transaction, but same or better than getting euros in the US.
The main points are, the poster would be better off getting a cash advance than using the card to pay the bill, and with that card, a cash advance is only marginally worse than an ATM transaction at ~1% cost. Also, know the fees associated with your various cards and accounts, and if the fees are a percentage or an interest rate, run some scenarios to get a sense of the true costs, it may change the way you access money.