If you are traveling to a faraway destination for the first time in your life, you might find it very challenging to handle money away from home. You will need to keep money safe from thieves, but at the same time not embarrass yourself in public having to strip down to the underwear just to access your money. You also need to master the art of managing money at a time when spending seems like the only fashionable thing to do.
The good thing is that it is easier to carry and manage money these days thanks to the internet and technology. We now have safer and more convenient payment methods as compared to the pre-internet era. However, debit cards, ATMs, and credit cards that we prevalently use today aren’t foolproof either. If your card gets in the wrong hands, you could easily lose your money.
Another teething challenge that comes with handling money when traveling is the process of changing your home currency to your host nation’s currency. Tourists often find themselves counting losses after being forced to exchange their money from fraudulent currency exchange agents, most of who distort the exchange rates to their advantage.
With that in mind, let us look at 5 tips of handling money safely and elegantly while traveling.
1- Save your money in a bank with the minimal international fees
If you will be flying to an international destination, ensure that your money is saved in a bank that doesn’t hike ATM charges when their card is used abroad. Of course, ATMs are everywhere these days which makes them convenient to carry and use, but their international charges can easily put you off.
Most banks charge unreasonably high fees, so you need to confirm whether your bank is among them. If it is, opening a different bank account would be a very wise financial decision.
ATMs eliminate the need for carrying huge sums of hard cash, so you are able to regulate your spending. When you visit Italy, for example, you will be able to buy whatever you need whenever you want to. Also, you will have a nice time exploring the city on a walking tour and get acquainted with the city’s historical attractions as well as adventurous landscapes.
2. Know-how and where to exchange currencies
To have the best experience abroad, try as much as possible to have more of the local currency than your home currency. Service providers love to be paid in their own currency, unless, of course, you are willing to let them “keep the change”. Besides, there is a chance that your home currency is unacceptable or non-convertible in your host nation. In that case, be sure to exchange your money from your bank or travel agency before leaving home.
When exchanging money, always pay attention to the exchange rate and attached commissions as those can be really huge sometimes. Banks, in particular, have a tendency of overcharging clients. If you feel like you are not getting enough pesos for your dollars, for example, don’t shy away from shopping around for better exchange rates.
Lastly, don’t be fooled by the black market currency exchange agencies that promise you heavenly exchange rates. Black markets are illegal. They can land you in trouble.
3. Keep your cash in hand in multiple safe spots
Your travel money and credit cards are safer when kept in multiple, separate spots than when in one place. Imagine what would happen to you if a thief snatched your bag, the bag that unfortunately contained all your financial life abroad? That would be chaos. But if you have, say, 5 different money locations, a thief will have to rob you at gunpoint to fleece you dry, which is almost impossible.
4. Have several backup cards
It is risky to depend on only one debit or credit card when away from home. What will happen to you if your card gets blocked or stolen? You will encounter problems trying to access your cash. Always ensure that you have multiple cards with you so that if one malfunctions or gets lost, you can use the other one. You would rather carry the one that charges high international fees than being stranded in an emergency thousands of miles from home.
5. Keep money in small denominations
It is tempting to withdraw huge chunks of money because of the smaller transaction fee charged, but you should try to resist the temptation as doing so can lead to unnecessary impulse buying. In the same vein, avoid carrying large bills in the local currency will force you to tip more than you actually want. Large bills also tend to attract thieves more than small denominations.
Now that you know how to handle money when traveling abroad, why not visit Florida and put the skills you have learned to test? While there, save money by booking a cheap vacation rental rather than spending on unnecessarily expensive hotel rooms.