I really need some help here people. I am setting off next week and havent got a clue what to do about money. i am travelling for 6 months and have just over £5000. I have a nationwide bank account as they dont charge for withdrawl abroad (just the exchange rate). I am also taking a credit card whilst Im away and keeping it seperate in case of emergency.
I am starting in mexico, then cuba and central, south america, then new zealand, fiji, oz, south east asia. Obviously I cant take all of these currencies. What is my best bet, please help.
My friends were talking about haveing a few accounts, but I dont understand the logic of this.
If I should take travellers cheques (maybe usd) how much??? wheres best place to get em??
Any help would be greaty appreciated...stop this stress head lol
Your best option would be to take $US because they are easily exchangable anywhere. Some places like South East Asia, $US are almost preferred to the local currency especially in Cambodia and all the tourist things in Vietnam. Your card should work in all the countries you are going to, but sometimes it may mean shopping around a few ATM's. In Brazil I found that I needed to search all over for an ATM that would except my mastercard despite the fact most ATM's said they accepted them. At least if you take a supply of $US then in situations you may come across like I am talking about, you'll have back up money to exchange. It will definitely pay when getting that money to make sure they are the newer type of notes and that you get smaller denominations instead of $50 and $100 as they will be harder to change with just general street people. On my last RTW trip (my 2nd), I always had a minimum of about 15 $1 notes, 15 $5 notes, 10 $10notes and 10 $20 notes although to begin with I had $700US + about $500US worth of numerous other currencies. All of it was hidden in my money belt under my clothes which I wore everywhere even in bed. I probably wouldn't carry that much cash on you seeing you don't have to pay the rediculous withdrawal fees like people in Australia do on their ATM cards, but that thing with the denominations of notes I put would be handy as emergency minimum.
Another thing which I did was store one bank card which had a small amount of cash in it and also get some old bank cards and put them in my wallet and stored the current ones in my money belt which was worn in my pants. I also stored all my cash apart from enough to get me by for a day in my money belt. I did that so that if my wallet was stolen I lost no cards that would make life difficult for me as I'd just phone the bank with the little amount in and report the card stolen. I'd have the other cards to live off as I planned. It also meant that I didn't lose a huge amount of cash like I was carrying on me, or if I was kidnapped or something and had to hand over my wallet and was forced at gun or knife point to withdraw cash it wouldn't look like I was hiding anything (as they wouldn't look at the expiry dates of all the other cards). My planning worked out perfect on one occasion as to my horror the later less likely incident happened and I was forced to withdraw cash. I had thought of lies to say if the incident happened that'd sound true and I wouldn't look as if I was telling them a load of rubbish. All that planning worked out and I ended up only losing about $80US and a lot of trust when I had $700US on my person at the time. That incident happened in only the 2nd place outside of my home country I'd ever been only a week in to my first RTW trip of 4 months, so it wasn't a good start! It could only get better from that point and it sure did and resulted in me getting a serious dose of the travel bug and has since let me see another 46 countries (total of 48). I'd also prepared myself by wearing the money belt with a lot of cash in it for weeks before I left in an environment where I felt safe, so I learnt to walk and carry it without looking suspicious. You should definitely wear a money belt in your pants and have lies and plans for such incidents for the places you are going, because some of the places you are going have a lot of theft and other crime go on especially Mexico, Central America and South America. I had 1 attempted mugging and 1 attempted theft of my digital camera whilst in South America. I met a fellow hosteller who had similar, but a bit worse happen on a bus in Mexico, but I didn't experience any such thing luckily although I was sitting next to a guy reading a manual for an AK47 assault rifle, which was a bit of a concern as to if he was going to get up to something on the bus. Another thing I did on my latest trip was wear my wallet in my front pocket so I had less risk of being pickpocketed.
Taking travellers cheques is pretty pointless as they are sometimes very hard to exchange and you'll often get ripped off a lot with the commission. I've been to all the regions you are going to except Cuba and Fiji and didn't have travellers cheques but always had $US. What I'd normally try and do when possible was at the end of my stay in a country I would try and change the local currency for the next countries currency just to have enough to be able to get me to town and check in to a hostel. Then if I didn't have enough local currency left I'd normally go to an ATM, basically just leaving the $US for emergency use only.
If you need any more help or have any other questions feel free to send me a message as this stuff is just the beginning of the planning for bad situations I had done.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 24, 2007, at 4:47 PM by aharrold45 ]
Off topic, but... God, that scared me off! I was thinking about going to Mexico, should I avoid it? Surely it must be even more dangerous for 2 girls travelling alone?
NinaGD, I'll send you a message instead of filling this post with off topic stuff.
you could also ask by a Western Union ore Moneygram office for a copy of the places /citys in the country you will visit.
So in case of emergency you can advice your family /friends where they can send you some cash.It workes fast and safe!
It is not for free,but if it is an emergency and safe so what?
sometimes is better to pay a little bit before loosing all.
Hope you dont need this service,
thought i'd ask this question in this thread to save overcrowding of the forum
i remember someone, somewhere saying that CitiBank is the best bank account to have when going RTW. I realise its already been said which accounts charge etc, but my main concern is what happens if i lose my debit card and credit card?
If the common feelings are that travellers cheques may be a pain in the a$$ to exchange, what happens when a card is lost?
I'm planning on doing what Aharrold said, and taking duplicate cards, but still very worried incase i'm left with no money at the other side of the planet! (ps - i'm planning on using my credit card regularly, not just for emergencies).
any response would be very helpful guys, i've been talking to a few other members via PM's, and they're feeling the same fears!
getting money deposited in to your card by a family member back home, or if the card is stolen or lost getting money sent by Western Union (has very extreme commision charges, but no way of avoiding it if you are in a real emergency). I'll send you a PM with a lot more detail than this, because otherwise I'll put another essay length reply on this post.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 16, 2007, at 3:09 AM by aharrold45 ]