Tips – Money and Finances on the Road

Paying your way across the world usually requires cash (local currency and sometomes major world currencies eg. US dollars or Euros) and to a varying degree credit card and travellers’ cheques.

Traveller’s Cheques

Traveller’s cheques have fallen out of favour in certain countries (due to counterfeiting) and may be difficult to exchange or attract significant commissions.

ATMs and Prepaid CashCards

Cash automatic teller machines (ATMs) are now widely found across most of the continents now and even most developing countries. They are the easiest way to access cash (especially in local currency) as you go. ‘Prepay’ or debit currency cards usually offer the best value as most credit cards charge significant cash advance and currency conversion fees for withdrawing cash abroad.   The card is reloadable, usually with an option to transfer funds electronically onto the card from an online bank account.

Other Payment Options

I always carry other payment forms so hopefully I’ll never be caught short. I carry a visa credit card and usually a variable amount of emergency cash in a major world currency (several hundred US dollars or Euros) depending on where I’m travelling.  Some destinations only deal in cash eg Rwanda, Zimbabwe and you may have to bring your entire funds for the trip in cash on your person.

Money Security

As a rule I always keep all my money and cards on my person at all times.

I have not had money stolen or pickpocketed in over 15 years of travel.  I use a travel money pouch suspended off my belt which ‘flips’ down the inside of my trousers or skirt like an extra, deep pocket (Tatonka).  I keep all my cash reserves and cards in this pouch. I wear a bumbag or ‘fanny pack’ around my waist with a wallet containing a small amount of cash for the day, and my passport. I never leave cash in hotel rooms and don’t rely on hotel safes either.  I carry my travel money pouch with me at all times – this means taking it with my toiletry bag into the shower.  It pays to avoid complacency – it only takes a thief seconds to relieve you of your valuables and entire funds for your trip if you drop your guard!

See also Tips on Avoiding Scams and Pickpockets.

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