If you're going to make out of the ordinary purchases for overseas, or travel overseas, you always want to call your bank ahead of time. This is a standard operating procedure, and nothing to complain about on Slashdot.
I travel overseas every couple of years and have never had to call my bank ahead of time. My traveling companion often gets their card flagged for fraud when traveling overseas (and even occasionally when traveling domestically) unless they call ahead. I attribute this to the fact that I use AmEx and my companion uses CapitalOne. (Not shilling for AmEx, just saying.)