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[at-l] Credit vs. Cash and Buy vs. Mail
Unless one is financing a thru hike on credit, a debit card works best in my opinion. It's expensive to get cash from a credit card. Plus debit cards involve less expense for small retailers and small purchase amounts, which is what most hikers are involved with. I understand that minimum fees almost always mean a loss for small stores charging items that cost less than $10 or so.
I've never had a mail drop fail to arrive. I mostly used post offices because I always felt an obligation to stay at hostels that held my packages and that sometimes was equally delaying if I arrived mid morning. Plus a mail drop is never perfect. Occasionally, I would just have a drop or a partial drop forwarded up the trail by a few days. That's easy to do if one is already at the post office.
I also enjoyed an occasional slow day on the trail needed to meet a post office schedule. I would spend more time exploring the flowers, sitting on summits and scenic overlooks, looking for good swimming holes, and pondering the beauties of promising blue-blazed side trails.