Travel is something that so many of us enjoy, and want to do more. But once you’ve saved for your trip, and then spent money on booking it all, what do you do when you are actually away on your travels? Carrying money on vacations can be a bit of a balancing act. You need to think about safety, but also about utility. You want to make it difficult for thieves to access your money, and be able to deter them from even thinking about approaching you. However, there will be times when you do need to pay for something. You don’t want to have to find your wallet in layers and layers of clothing or unlock a padlock each time you want to use it.
When it comes to your travel money, you also need to think about what is going to be best to get foreign currency. Here are some of the things that you should think about when planning a trip abroad, where you need to get some foreign currency:
- In the majority of cases, you should avoid getting any of your foreign currency at the airport. They are banking, quite literally, on people being last minute and in desperate need of some foreign currency before they travel. As a result, it means that the exchange rate that they sell to you is usually very poor, and a lot less than the going rate, so you will get less for your money.
- Book foreign currency in advance. Visit a bureau du change ahead of time, and let them know how much you want to take out and when for. In some instances, for more rare currency, you will have to order in the money. This can take a couple of weeks, so you should start thinking about foreign currency and travel money about a month before you plan to go away.
- There are credit cards that you can use when you are abroad that don’t charge any fees on foreign currency transactions. So if you use that card, it will just be like shopping at home where nothing else is added on. If you use your normal credit card, then there are usually transaction fees that come as a result of the transaction being abroad. So unless you want to pay the fees, get cash in the currency, or get a credit card that doesn’t charge you fees abroad.
When it comes to the money on your travels, you need to think about carrying it safely, but also still having it accessible. You might have sent money to family and friends abroad before, but when it comes to you dealing with money on your travels, it can be a whole different ball-game. So here are some tips and things to think about, to help you to travel safely and keep your money with you.
Divide up your money
One big mistake that people can make, and that can land them in some trouble on their travels, is keeping all money in one place. Whenever it is possible, divide up your travel cash, as well as cards, and use a variety of different safe places. If you have it all in one place all at once, and then something happens, then it means you really will be in a pickle as it will all go at once.
If possible, it can be a good idea to leave some cards and some cash that you know you won’t need in a safe place in your accommodation. So many places have safes to use, even self-catering accommodation, so make the most of them. The money or cards that you do take with you on your travels should be kept safe and secure on your person, as well as having some in a bag that you will be carrying around. Distribute the cash and always remember to do so. Then the chances are that you will have enough to keep you going and help you to get help, if some does get stolen.
Storage on you
There are a number of ways to store money, and naturally, one option is going to be in a bag. But as mentioned above, dividing the money up can be a really good idea. Using an under-clothing storage accessory can be a good way to have the cash with you, but have it hidden out of sight. You can use a variety of things from getting a belt with an extra pouch, as well as having neck pouches that can be worn under a scarf. Some more modern options for storing money on your person are things like bra pouches, undershorts with pockets, long johns, and so on. Using on-body storage can be particularly useful if you are going to be sleeping somewhere communal, or somewhere that doesn’t have anywhere safe and secure to store your money, such as when you are camping.
When you are out and about, it is important to not show where you are getting the money from, so this kind of storage for money isn’t an alternative to a wallet. If you start reaching to your belt for your cash, then it will be very obvious to any would-be thieves in the area. So if you are using on-body storage, then just use it as that, storage.
Keep small bills to hand
When you get your foreign currency, a lot of the time you will be given some large bills. It can mean reduced fees when you do this in many instances, but it does mean that you will have to carry around a lot of large bills which can be a devastating blow if they get taken. So as well as dividing up your money, it is a good idea to make the smaller notes much more accessible. You don’t want to have to get out the $100 bills in a store, when you have some $10s to use up. When you have small bills to hand, you also won’t want to reach into any of your hidden money storage in public, to be able to cover the cost of things.
Getting prepared with your money should be something that becomes part of your routine each morning on your travels. As you are packing your bag for the day, check what coins you have left, as well as notes, and put them in the wallet where they will be most easily accessed. Anything larger could be left in the hotel safe, for example.
If we learn anything from garbage bag adverts, it is that there are some bags that are going to be much tougher than others. The same thing goes for travel backs, purses, and backpacks; they are not all created equal. There are some that are designed specifically with travel in mind, and these will have options like steel cables in straps, padlocks, locking zips, and slash-proof fabrics. So if you are serious about keeping your money safe on your travels, perhaps if you are going to be traveling solo, then get yourself a bag like this. These elements will slow down any thieves, and if there are any pickpockets that fancy their chances on a whim, then it will put them off immediately. They can be a really good investment for your travels.
Only the basics in your wallet
When we’re at home, we can have a large number of cards and receipts in our wallets. But are you going to need your library card when you’re nowhere near home? That is why it is a good idea to keep only the basics, and the things that you will need on our travels, in your wallet. Other cards can be left in a secure place at home, so that you’re not having to look through your wallet to find the right card, each time you pay. The longer that a wallet is out on display, the higher the chances that someone will just grab it. It can help you to travel that bit lighter too. Plus, if anything does happen and your wallet gets stolen, you won’t have to think about replacing every single item in there.
In some instances, depending on where you travel to, you could look to use some alternatives to cash. For public transport in somewhere like London, for example, you can buy an Oyster card where you can pre-pay some cash onto the card, and then you use the Oyster card on public transport, rather than having to get your wallet out each time you hop on the bus or tube. Somewhere like San Francisco also has a Clipper Card, which is a similar thing. So check your travel destination, and if there is something like this that you can use, then it will make such a difference. Using cash alternatives means that your chances of losing a wallet are reduced, simply because you can just leave it in your bag more.
Are there any other methods that you would add to the list? It would be great to hear what you think.