Another painful question from a first time traveller i'm afraid. I was wondering what is best to do with my money? I am travelling to South Africa for a month, Oz for a month then Central America for 3.5 months so a variety of currency is needed. I will take as many USD and travellers cheques that I am insured for but wondering what to do with the rest of my cash... Is the best thing to do to spread it over a couple of bank accounts/cards incase of theft/loss? Is there another option for travellers that I don't know about??
Working in bank >10years, I would tell you - forget about travellers cheques (commission charged is always higher than the rest).
Dollars are always useful in country where banking network is not so good or the currency fluctuation is high like Central America. When you carry cash, always split it in 3 portions and put in different places, my favorite is one portion in my toiletry bag or shoes bag :-) but always lock your backpack, one portion with my passport and another just easy access like your pocket. This is to avoid to show your money in public when you are taking it out.
For South America and Australia, the automatic teller machine (ATM) is safe, with a fee (normally 4usd or 3euro for each draw), but is the best bet because even you lost your card, as long as your pin is not lost, then your money is safe.
Carry 1 to 2 of these cards will be enough.
For Credit Card, very accepted in South America and Australia, so, you can carry 1-2 cards are more than enough.
My experience - I always carry 1 ATM card and 1 credit card (international bank) and split it and put in different portions of my cash so that if I lost 1 portion, I have a backup with another.
Good Luck traveling.
That's really helpful, thank you for your help