Historically the best ways to get foreign cash would be to exchange your local currency either at home or abroad. This would come with about the same 3% (or worse depending on where you exchange money) each time you convert so it’s a constant game of working out how much money you need to convert so you aren’t left with any at the end, otherwise you’re again hit with the fee in reverse. To make matters worse if you are using AUD and travel to somewhere less conventional such as Africa and South America, you may struggle to find a place that accepts your AUD to convert into local currency. This means you need to convert your money to USD or Euros before leaving and then convert them again to local currency meaning you’re hit with the fees twice.
There is a way to avoid this double whammy of fees and let you keep more of your own money. Most countries, even ones that are relatively undeveloped will have some availability of ATMs unless you are going to very remote places. While you should check this availability before you leave, the odds are that you will be able to find one at the airport where you land at least. If you get a debit card that has no international ATM fees you can withdraw your money from the ATM in local currency
with no currency conversion fees. So you get the great Mastercard or Visa exchange rate and get to withdraw as much cash as you need. Note that while the card might charge no international ATM fees, the ATM itself might charge an additional fee. ING was offering a refund on these fees with their regular account but this is no longer the case from August 2023 onwards. Now the playing field is more level. Whirlpool forums has an excellent wiki that has a user updated guide on fee free ATMs around the world
so you know what to look for on your next trip. If you refer to this Ozbargain page
you will also get a list of debit cards that have no international transaction fees and no international ATM withdrawal fees. My choice at the moment is UBank
because there are no hoops to jump through to get this perk and like the 28 Degrees card it’s no frills and gets the job done.