One of the difficulties of going on an extended holiday or a gap year is working out how to keep your travel cash safe. The options that you have available to you will often depend on the destination you’re travelling to and whether or not you are going to a remote area with no ATM’s or terminals for taking payment by card. As well as keeping your cash safe and in your possession, there are a variety of costs and fees attached with using cards and withdrawing cash abroad, so it is important to look at the most efficient way of spending too.
Keeping Your Travel Cash Safe
Even before you leave to your destination it is wise to take some of the local currency with you to ensure that you don’t have to pay the hefty cash conversion fees at the airport, and shopping around for the best deal is worthwhile. The general rule when you are carrying cash is to split it into a number of different locations on your person, so that if you do get mugged and lose your wallet, then you will have another stash of cash in another pocket. In most developed countries ATMs are commonplace, so you shouldn’t need to carry more cash than you need, but watch out for accounts that have an overseas withdrawal fee.
One smart way of limiting your exposure to card fraud or theft abroad is to use a pre-paid card, meaning that if you do lose the card and the PIN number then you can only lose the amount that had been loaded on to the card. These will often be slightly more expensive than using a standard debit card but will have a much smaller impact on your finances if lost or stolen. Another similar option is the Paypal Debit Card, which is supported by Mastercard which is accepted worldwide. This allows the card to withdraw the funds available in your Paypal account, but it is important not to connect it so that it automatically draws funds from your debit card.
Western Union & Moneygram
If you fail to keep your travel cash safe and end up in a position where you have been robbed or have lost all of your money, then it is wise to have a look to find the nearest Western Union or Moneygram office. These are services that allow funds to be transferred internationally, and using their website or asking a family member to transfer funds you can then appear at the office and collect the sum of money that was sent.
Arranging a suitable travel insurance policy whilst abroad will often not be a priority for many people, but it is important even if you are only taking the minimum amount of money and gadgets with you. A mugging or robbery can lead to more damage than just a stolen wallet or a mobile phone being taken, and the insurance will ensure you get home with your health intact as well as replacing any stolen items or money lost.
Image by – Andrew Turner