There are two primary considerations to make when you travel abroad concerning money. Firstly, you will probably end up with a different currency to that which you are used to. Secondly, you will not have such convenient access to extra services, such as visiting your bank’s branch or ordering a replacement card if you run into any issues. The chances are that you are always pretty careful with money no matter what, but there are plenty of reasons to double down on that carefulness when you travel abroad. The following tips should be kept in mind when outside your own country and will ensure that you are ready for anything.
1. Never Keep All Your Cash and Cards in the Same Place
You never want to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to money abroad. Avoid any situation where a would-be thief can wipe out all your financial options in one fell swoop. If you have access to a safe in your accommodation, keep some in there and some on you at all times. When out and about, keep some cash and cards in a bag and the same amount concealed somewhere on your person. It would take some serious misfortune to be wiped out completely in this way, and you at least want enough on you to make it back to your accommodation.
2. Use Specialist Storage Accessories
If you have the foresight to pick up a money belt or undershirt with built-in secure storage, they can be ideal for keeping your money out of view. Regardless of any other factors, on-body storage is the most secure of all, and that extends from inside your accommodation to heading out and about. Importantly, you do not want to rely solely on this storage when you’re out, and you should still use a conventional wallet or purse so as not to advertise the presence of your secure option when you pay for things.
3. Try to Work with Smaller Bills
If you collect travel money before you go abroad, the chances are that your conversion will be paid out in fairly large denominations. For obvious reasons, each of these notes will be more valuable to what you may be accustomed to at home. Larger bills are not always practical, especially if you are in a country where things are typically cheaper, and you want to ensure that you have the right denominations on hand for every occasion.
4. Use Specialist Travel Bags
While we would not say that being abroad is any more dangerous than being at home, it always makes sense to favour security in unfamiliar environments. If you decide to pull out all the stops for your personal security, a travel bag can make perfect sense. Features on these specialist bags that you would not find on a normal one include cut-proof fabrics, hidden compartments, locks and reinforced straps.
5. Only Ever Carry Cards You Need
If you take a look in your wallet right now, you’ll probably find at least one that would be worthless to anyone else but hassle to replace. It could be your gym membership or library card or any number of other items that you will not need abroad. As a first step, leave anything you definitely won’t need on your travels at home. Then, each morning, check cards that you will and will not need on the day and leave anything unnecessary behind in your safe.
6. Consider Decoy Items
If you have done your research and find yourself heading to a part of the world where pickpocketing or even mugging are commonplace, it can be worth investing in a ‘spare’ wallet. Opportunist thieves always go for the easiest option, and it is not difficult to divert their attention towards your decoy to make it relatively easy to steal. Once stolen, they are unlikely to try again. A couple of small notes and a fake credit card for extra authenticity will get the job done at a low cost and keep your real wallet safe.
7. Keep a Wallet Solely for Travel
If you are the kind of person to take your entire life with you each day in your wallet or purse, it might be simpler to have a dedicated travel wallet rather than to take every card and slip of paper out each time you go. Transfer the essentials before you go and make sure you go for security features like signal blockers to prevent unwanted contactless payments and hidden compartments.
8. Know What to Expect from Local Customs
The purpose of money may be universal, but local attitudes to it can differ. Know ahead of time whether there is anything you should know – important cultural aspects will have taken people by surprise previously, and they will have mentioned it on reviews and blogs. If there is a tipping culture, know what to expect and split your bills accordingly. If cash is all but obsolete, use a card with low exchange fees, and that contains the required technology like chip and pin or contactless payments.
9. Purchase Money Alternatives Where Possible
Anything that sees you carrying less cash is preferable in an unfamiliar place, and various tickets and cards can make life easier. If you plan to head out an about on public transport in your destination, consider a season ticket to make life easier and save money. If you plan to visit lots of attractions, buy the tickets in advance with the same goals in mind. If these are lost or stolen, they can often be replaced at low or no cost.
10. Treat Valuables Appropriately
From money to jewellery and anything else of value besides, you should make full use of any security arrangements in your accommodation. If there is an in-room safe, use it. Failing that, enquire about any arrangements behind the front desk – just don’t forget to check them before you leave!