The not so fun and confusing part of traveling, the issue of how much should you take to this county and how much for that country? Adding to that is the questions of should you have cash, travelers checks, use your credit card or bankcard? When it really comes down to it, it is a matter of opinion and preference for each. That being said, I have a few helpful tips that can save you money and keep your cash safe.
Why cash and travelers checks are great and why not
Everyone in every country will take cash (they would be crazy not to), this is why you should always have at least some cash on you. As for travellers checks, I have never used but can see the idea in these. I believe they are a way of the past when you don’t want to take you cash everywhere with you. It is possible to have a check instead so you can cash it at a bank when you need the money. How much should you have? Well you’re never going to exactly know, there are always costs that you may forget about or not even plan for (emergencies/accidents). When I plan to solely use cash I try work out my expenses and always add a little extra, point being you will usually always use that extra and if you don’t well there is no reason you can’t exchange it for the next currency you need. The only negative side of having cash is theft, so either keep your cash on you or usually the hotel/hostel will have a safe. Travelers checks, are great for this as you can report them stolen to your bank, which they can cancel the check stopping it from being cashed. Not only that but you need I.D to cash it.
Credit cards, bank cards and why they cost you a packet!
Just about everywhere in the world (obviously not some 3rd world countries) you can use your credit card (usually master cards or visas). This is the great ease of traveling, or is it? Sure its easy, you can make purchases just about everywhere and you can take cash out when needed at any ATM. Why would you not use this then? Because it costs you a packet. If you are abroad using your credit card from home, sure you can purchase but this will not cost you just the amount of the goods/service. As you make any transaction or even a withdrawal you are charged not just for a currency conversion but an international transaction fee. Once added up on each transaction, this is costing you a lot of money. The same goes with (EFTPOS) bank cards from your home, It may not cost you as much but the chargers are still the same. Look into getting a TRAVEL MONEY CARD
Travel money cards are the future
These cards are going to save you money overseas and you will not even think about using your credit card/bank card again. These cards are specifically designed for you, the traveler. You may have heard of these and if you haven’t got one, you’re getting left behind on the travel front. What are they and why should I get one? Travel money cards allow you to load money onto them in various different currencies. They work as credit/master cards, meaning you can make purchases and withdrawal from just about anywhere in the world. How can these save you money if they work like credit/master cards? Well because you pre-load the card up with a specific currency, say GBP (British Pound) and your using the card in England you won’t be charged for a currency conversion or a international transaction fee as its already in the correct currency. You will be charged to withdrawal from cash machines but the price is very low compared to what you would pay with your credit/bank card (the card I use cost me only AUD $2.00 per withdrawal of any amount) and you still aren’t charged the currency conversion. On the card I have (Commonwealth Bank travel money card) the first load of money I place on it is free and from then on it only costs 1% of what I load it up with.
Different banks will have different fees but they are certainly cheaper than using your normal credit/bank card. Another great thing about these is you can load up more than one currency per card (the card I use allows 9 different currencies) and for example. If you head from England to Europe and have both currencies loaded onto the care, the card will start using Euro instead of GBP.
Just to let you know, I don’t (although I wish I did) get a kickback from my bank for this and just wanted to show you how much easier it is to travel with one of these cards. If you don’t have one and are planning on heading abroad, get one!
Does anybody have anything to add to this, such as other great ways to keep our money safe traveling and not pay so much to access it?