Do you struggle with money for travel?
Yes, there is always the issue of wanting MORE of it!
That goes without saying, but what is the best way to travel with and access money?
I travel a lot and love every minute of it, but I am yet to approach a trip without wondering and worrying about the best way to carry my cash when I am in another country.
I have tried a few different tools and techniques, but I feel that perhaps I am missing out on the ultimate solution.
Can you enlighten me? What tip or trick would reduce the stress?
This is what I have tried so far:
CASH: I always carry enough currency of the country I am visiting, to get me through the first day or two. I do not feel comfortable or safe carrying a large amount of cash around, but it is a comfort knowing I have the capacity to buy a coffee or a train ticket as soon as my feet hit foreign soil.
Small denominations are the key as the last thing you need when you are jet-lagged and weary are scornful or dirty looks from surly waiters and/or bus drivers.
The question is, how much cash do you feel safe carrying?
Beware the money changers: Depending on your country of choice, be very alert when swapping your home currency with the local one. We had a very educational experience a few years ago in Bali, when the money changer carried out the ultimate slight-of-hand trick, considerably short-changing us. Fortunately the Brave Man* is very tall and imposing and putting on his angry voice, we returned to said money changer and encouraged him to return all our missing cash. A lesson well-learned.
Note: Some foreign currencies are ‘protected’ meaning that they not available outside of their country of origin. Indian rupees are one of those.
- Australia Post Load and Go Travel Card: I have used this card in the USA and throughout Europe. You load up Australian dollars and then convert those dollars into a number of foreign currencies by using the ‘wallets’ (AUD, USD, EU, UK
Pounds, and NZD) at today’s exchange rate. The Australia Post exchange rates are fairly competitive and it is good to know how many Euros etc. you have before arriving in a country. If you are travelling to multiple countries, you then arrange the different currency wallets in the order you want to use them. As the exchange rate has already been calculated, you simply pay the ATM fee (€2-3 in Europe) each time a withdrawal is made. Obviously it is best to limit the number of withdrawals. This card has no set-up fee, but a $15 fee when your card expires and a new one is issued.
- Citibank Plus Debit Card: I am trialling this card on my upcoming trip to India. It came recommended by a friend as a card that is widely accepted/usable in the ATMs of that country. Unlike the Australia Post card, this one is loaded in Australian dollars, and I will be withdrawing Indian rupee. It will be interesting to see how hefty the fees and charges are.
CREDIT CARD: 28 Degrees Mastercard: I have found this credit card to be a useful and effective travel tool. There are no foreign exchange fees, just a straight conversion. I have noted that they have recently implemented an online management fee of around 0.95c per statement, but I don’t think that is too mean. I have used this on many trips, and I also use it for any online shopping from international sites.
The main challenge with any sort of card or money management is to remember all the different PIN numbers! Yes, I know I need a pin for security reasons, but I get a bit addled trying to keep my international pins separate from my domestic pin numbers! Maybe I am getting old??
Of course all of the above is truly a ‘first world’ problem. It is a joy and privilege to travel the world and juggling cards, cash and PINs is all part of the travel experience.
Despite my many past, and future travel miles, I would like to ‘do’ this part of travel better.
What money cards, tips and tricks do you use?
*The Brave Man refers to my husband. He is indeed a brave man for marrying a crazy woman like me!