So, our South America trip is now really close - we land in Bogota the seocnd week in July - and so we're making the final preparations.
I was hoping for some advice on money and cards whilst we are out there. I have read lots of guide books, lots of blogs and lots of posts on here and am not entirely sure what to do!
I am planning to use ATMs as much as possible and so we're each taking one debit card for our joint account. I am also the debit card from my current account, as a back-up, and then also a credit card for emergencies.
What's the best way to keep these safe, or do I just have to accept that there is a chance I will lose them all at some point? Some books say 'When going out only take the cash you need with you and leave your cards at the hostel/hotel' and then others say 'Don't leave any valuables in your hostel/hotel!'
I was just wondering what people do in reality? I have bought a belt that has a secret pocket in which I can stash some notes. We both have little plastic waterproof containers for when we go swimming, and I have a money belt to wear under my t-shirt.
I bought some trousers with zipped pockets and so is my wallet likley to be safe in there? Should I have my cards somewhere separate from my wallet so that if they take that they won't get the cards?
Is it worth having cards in a second wallet and then hope my wallet with a little bit of cash is enough for any thieves?
I am finding this a bit stressful and am worrying a lot about us ending up stuck somewhere with no money!!
Well, I have had the second wallet gag before. I have heard it's effective, but after years travelling C.A. I have never ever had my wallet ripped off ever. Just don't trust in a moneybelt....They're blown.
My suggestion is this. Keep your credit card and your bank card separate. Have the number of your bank card somewhere safe, hidden in a random phone number in an email, and same with the credit card. I have kept the credit card in a supersafe place in my room, and lived on the bank card....if the bank card gets nicked, you can go to the credit card,(sorry, get a PIN number set up first, so you can use it in a bank machine) and use your online account to immediately pay off the credit card. No cost get accrued and you have your backup.
Now Grizzly Sam will come on and say that this is ridiculous. There are not computers hooked to the internet everywhere...But he's wrong...I have been to dirtfloor huts where they have the internet. Was in a town where they didn't have running water toilets, got their water out a lake....They had the internet.
[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jun-2009, at 12:46 by Piecar ]
I have a wallet, but when Im traveling I usually keep that tucked away in my backpack in my room and take only cash i need for the day when Im out and about. I have a little extra emergency US dollars hidden in the backpack too, but your belt with secret pocket sounds just as good.
Basically, just dont have everything in the same place. Just like at home you can never be 100% safe 100% of the time. Good street sense is probably better security than anything you do with your money.