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Best way to manage and handle money while traveling?

Travel Forums General Talk Best way to manage and handle money while traveling?

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1. Posted by samot (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

(Second time i'm posting this, the thread monster ate my first post)
What is the best way to manage and handle money while traveling?

I figure most airline tickets and major transportation costs can be paid before starting the trip.

How about daily spending-money, or money for bus tours, tips, unexpected misshapes and so on? I don't want to walk around with a large amount of cash.

Are credit cards the way to go, or are ATM cards better? How about opening a bank account with a national bank, is that the way to do it? With a bank account setup for the different locations I will visit I could just withdraw money when I get there.

What tips can you guys offer? Anyone have any personal experience, either bad or good? Personally, I have to pay 2.5% on top of every transaction I do in foreign countries (internet purchase, UK only so far) on my credit card. I wonder if that still happens if I’m actually in the foreign country.

Thank you,
Thomas S.
Tampa, FL

2. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

hi thomas,

it depends in which country you are travelling. I went for example to Iran and had to carry dollars for 5 weeks (around 600US$ in a moneybelt). But in India and Egypt for instance you can easily use a debitcard. I always got 200€ from an ATM at a time. The costs for me were 1,80€ per transaction (no matter which amount). All western countries are connected to an ATM network such as Maestro and cirrus.

Hope this helps..

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 11, 2007, at 1:17 PM by Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ ]

3. Posted by samot (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

Well, my travel destinations are in three parts.

First i'm heading to South America for 4 month. 3 month in Venezuel, 1 for peru
• Venezuela (all over)
• The Andes (near Venezuela)
• Lima, Peru
• Cusco, Peru (Inka Trail, Machu Picchu)

Second part, after taking care of some bill and other responsibilities at home. I'm just going to use my credit card for this trip.
• Utah (Canyoneering)
• Phoenix Arizona
• Las Vegas (never been, i wanna see it at least once)
• Anchorage (ATV trip)
• Fairbanks (visit friends, travel to Prudhoe Bay via the Dalton Highway)
• New York (maybe for 1 or 2 days, to say i been there)

Third part (still planning the trip itinerary)
• UK
• Dubai
• India
• Vietnam (2½ week motorcycle tour)
• Thailand (Full Moon Party)
• Island hop down to Oz (depends on cost)
• Hop over to New Zeeland (depends on cost)
• Thaiti and then to Easter Island (depends on cost)
• Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan

I'm going to try to pay for most of the stuff ahead if i can, that way i have leverage if i feel like i'm being ripped off.

4. Posted by samot (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

<FOUND MY OLD THREAD, I MOVED THE RESPONSES TO THIS ONE>

by bentivogli

1) Whatever you do, don't take more cash than absolutely necessary. Carrying hard currency puts your own safety at risk

2) CCs are a pretty safe alternative, I think, as long as you can prove not having authorised transactions (which means, reporting to the local police as soon as you notice your CC has been stolen)

3) Your bank cannot provide you with an international ATM or debit card? Sounds a bit strange to me; at any rate, this would be MY preferred mode of carrying cash

4) If all else seems unattractive to you, consider carrying TCs. Though not much use in South America, it may be easier to cash them in Asia, and they come with insurance.

With all 'plastic' money, it is sensible to open up a travel account, in which you have someone trustworthy at home put small sums from your regular account (the card of which you don't take with you).

5. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

wow....great trip. part two and three is no problem with your debit and/or creditcard (from US). part three I don't know. if you get no answer here soon you'd better ask in the south-America forum. cheers.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 11, 2007, at 1:58 PM by Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ ]

6. Posted by samot (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

bentivogli, what i meant by international cc is a card that maybe has some extra protection build in against fraud. I can use my credit card overseas without any problem, i'm not sure about my ATM, its with a small credit union.

What are these travel accounts? Do you know any specific banks that have them? Or do you mean a bank account with an ATM card that gets refilled ever so often to limit the amount of damage someone can do?

7. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Quoting samot

What are these travel accounts? Do you know any specific banks that have them? Or do you mean a bank account with an ATM card that gets refilled ever so often to limit the amount of damage someone can do?

I think bentivogli means that you open a seperate bankaccount as for the purpose of travelling. Your parents or someone else could put small amounts on that account from your normal day to day account.
Its not a special travelaccount, its just opening a new one eventually at the same bank you are in now. I think this is not really necessary unless you are very paranoid. Just watch your money. take a moneybelt or documentary bag underneath your clothes...

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 11, 2007, at 2:08 PM by Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ ]

8. Posted by carosterns (Respected Member 159 posts) 9y

I used to be a big fan of using my ATM card but with ID fraud on the increase and the banks trying hard to stop it the danger is having the bank stop your card. Over Xmas I spent 3 weeks travelling through 5 Eastern Europe countries. By the time I got to Hungary (thrid country) my bank decided my card had been compromised. Because it was over Xmas/New Year and it took me a few days to get in touch with them they cancelled the card and I found my self with £50 and a credit card. I ended up having to get a cash advance on my credit card which I don't like doing because they charge like a wounded bull to do it.

Come April I'm starting in Norway and heading across the Baltics Russia Mongolia and China and have had to give serious thought to the money issue. Firstly, I will be giving my itinerary to my bank so they know to expect the transactions on my debit and credit card, but not trusting the banks (and not wanting to get stuck in the middle of Siberia with out money, I have sorted out an American Express Travellers Cheque card - pretty much like an ATM card and I believe Visa do one as well, I'm currently investigating as I want a second card, Just In Case. And then, I will carry some cash as well. I don't know how many times I've been caught out in small villages with one ATM that doesn't work.

The best think to do is the old Eggs and Baskets thing.

9. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y

Quoting Wﺭﺍﺪﻤﺎﮐﺭ

I think bentivogli means that you open a seperate bankaccount as for the purpose of travelling. Your parents or someone else could put small amounts on that account from your normal day to day account.
Its not a special travelaccount, its just opening a new one eventually at the same bank you are in now. I think this is not really necessary unless you are very paranoid. Just watch your money. take a moneybelt or documentary bag underneath your clothes...

Reading my thoughts again, Wouter, aren't you :)

Yeah, that's precisely what I meant. I'll try to state it more clearly next time.

10. Posted by samot (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

After reading through the post i decided to use a little of each. Like caro_stern said don't put all your eggs in one basket.

I opened a account with my bank and they are sending me an ATM card. After talking to the bank teller, she told me the best way to handle this is to set it up to where i start with a predetermined amount, and then, every week or bi-weekly the account will automatically be filled up to the amount specified. This way i don't run the risk of loading a lot of money on the account in case i don't use all of it at once. I will also be able to manage my account by going online.

I'm checking into getting a Travelers Check Card for my trip up north and to SEA. They don't seem to be the best option for South America. Due to the high rates they charge for usage, i would only use this card if i really needed to.

I called my Credit Card company and they agreed to let me open a second account with a lower limit so i can limit the damage someone can do.

Other then the South America Trip, i will be staying in hotels at least for parts of the week. I think once i get to a different place i will have a better idea of what i will need to spend for the next to weeks and should be able to plan ahead. I just don't want the fees and small incrimental extras to eat up all of my money.

I also made copies of all important papers, (I.E. Passports, Green Card, ....) and put them into a safe place. I told my mother where they are in case i get stranded and need her to help me out with some information.

Last time i came back from mexico i had the hardest time getting back into the country. (U.S.)
I have a Green Card, but i got it when i was like 12 years old, and the INS office told me i did not need to have it renewed or updated. Which is the excact opposite of what the security person at the airport was telling me.

Thanks again for all the great tips.

Now i just need to find a catbowl bigenough for 3 month of food at a time.