In our day-to-day lives, most of our transactions are done through debit and credit cards. But when you’re travelling, carrying money in the form of cash is still the way to go.
In this blog, we provide 10 tips for travelling with money that’ll help keep the cost of travel down and your money safe when you’re abroad.
1. Communicate with your bank before travelling
Communicate openly about your travel plans with your bank, even if you’re travelling for just two or three days. This will let you operate more freely, enabling you to safely withdraw more local currency when you need it. Financial institutions will often flag international use as an indication of fraud and that can result in your account becoming frozen. Alerting the bank of your travel plans will avoid this problem. Additionally, ensure that your cards are equipped with 4 digit PINs as 5 and 6 digit PIN numbers do not work on international machines.
2. Don’t rely on travel money cards or traveller’s cheques
Traveller’s cheques have become an archaic form of payment. Using traveller’s cheques is increasingly expensive and difficult. There are few companies that are willing to accept them, and those that do charge high fees for their service. When bringing cash, consult with an expert and do your research regarding the best currency to bring. It is not uncommon for travellers to choose to bring the US Dollar on all international trips. We advise against this as it can end up being both costly and inconvenient. Typically, only local currency will prove reliable as you won’t always be able to access currency exchanges to convert foreign currencies.
3. Never keep your wallet in a back pocket
Experienced pickpockets thrive in tourist locations. Don’t give them an easy target! Instead, keep cash in places that only you can reach easily: front pant pockets and inside jacket pockets are good bets. Even attaching your wallet to your belt with a cord or small chain will help.
Canadian me and women are accustomed to carrying handbags and backpacks with all their belongings inside without much consideration for theft or pickpockets. While abroad, always make sure your handbags and backpacks are on your person.
4. Wear a travel money belt
Money belts make it much safer to travel with cash as it’s very unlikely someone is going to steal your belt from you. The currency stays with you at all times too, putting your mind at ease while you enjoy the sights. It’s well worth the $30 or $40 dollars for the belt, and more practical than bringing a miniature safe. Grab one before you go!
5. Bring your travel money in large bills
Bills take up far less room than coins and cards and larger bills allow you to carry more currency when you really need it. You’ll also be able to secure more cash in your money belt, keeping it away from unsafe places like your back pockets.
Moreover, paper bills won’t set off metal detectors at the airport as coins would. You’ll obviously need a few coins for parking metres or quick purchases, but it’s best to avoid coins as much as possible.
Plan for enough currency in small bills to get you through a few days of travel, and keep the rest in larger, less conspicuous bills.
6. Hotel rooms aren’t always safe
While your hotel room or b&b are generally safe places to keep money during your travels, we’ve all heard travel horror stories of money and belongings going missing from hotel rooms that were locked and considered safe.
Our recommendation is to bring as much of your money with you when you leave your room for the day. If you store it in something like a money belt, there should be little opportunity for it to go missing or be stolen.
7. Store money in multiple places
Another way to keep money safe during your travels is to store it in several different places. This will ensure that even if you lost your money belt or wallet, you’d still have access to cash and cards if need be.
Here are four examples of safe spots to hide your money:
- False bottoms in your suitcase
- Inside pockets in your carry-on bag
- Inside a roll of clean socks
- Between pages in a book
8. Bring a credit card as a backup
Our recommendation is to use a credit card as little as possible while abroad. Some American credit cards still use ZIP Codes, rendering Canadian credit cards invalid, while ATMs and banks can hit you with exorbitant service charges to withdraw money while abroad.
However, there is no denying the convenience credit cards can bring in a pinch, or if your physical cash goes missing or is stolen. For these reasons, you should always have a credit card on-hand while travelling but try to abstain from using it.
9. Reserve money for emergencies
Situations can arise that’ll require you to access emergency funds and it’s possible that local currency will be the only reliable currency you’ll be able to use.
Have local currency available for emergencies only!
10. Get the best travel money rates in advance
You will always get the best travel money rates when you plan in advance. To get the best rate, call us! Our team has the travel experience necessary to help you financially prepare for your trip. Don’t wait on grabbing local currency until you arrive…get a fair exchange rate and travel prepared by contacting Currency Converters.