How do I carry my money when traveling the world? What credit cards are best? Are traveler’s cheques okay?
First, let me outline my credentials on this subject: I’ve been nomadic – across the planet in 100+ countries since 1988 – and today, I still follow this advice regarding how I organize my travel funds. And access has been largely hassle-free, and safe.
Accessing your travel money while on the road – 7 easy tips
1. BEST WAY TO CARRY FUNDS IS VIRTUAL. I use a credit card – with a pin number – to access my money and get local currency anywhere in the world via an ATM that displays the visa sign. Without a doubt: the best global ATM cards are VISA. There are a few countries where this is not applicable. Like Iran, so carry it all in cash.
2. Carry a second credit card. Hide it separately from your funds and main credit card. Make sure it’s got a different number and use this account for emergencies only, like if the other card needs to be cancelled due to fraud or loss. (The annual fee for this second account card is worth it for the additional back-up).
3. INTERNET BANKING is the only way to go. I’ve used it for over 10 years. But always access your account whilst travelling on a secure computer like your own device with to update anti-virus software and firewall, so you can transfer money safely from your online savings account to your credit card / ATM accessed travel funds, as needed.
4. Most home banks charge an overseas ATM withdrawal fee, so bear this in mind as it adds up fast. Secondly, some countries like Thailand now also charge you to withdraw money from their local ATMs … Meaning: a double hit of fees. So if you’re sure of your cash needed, max out the withdrawal amount each time to save on these endless transaction fees. (Some banks are now starting to drop these fees at select, affiliated overseas banks and their ATMs).
5. Your cash dollars and ATM/credit cards must always be HIDDEN. Use a cheap wallet. I prefer a plastic bag in my front pocket – to carry your small daily travel funds. NEVER reveal your hidden money-belt in the street or in public view.
6. FORGET traveller’s cheques. They’re so 19th century. A hassle and often useless – no one wants them UNLESS you limit yourself to traveling Europe, USA, Australia + NZ.
7. ALWAYS HAVE CASH FOR EMERGENCIES. Say about $US 200-500 dollars well-hidden and waterproofed – use supermarket cling-film. Shit happens: no ATMs or banks in town, a robbery or sudden border issues.
Enjoy your trip !