Money makes the world go round, and yet, it can be confusing or cause worry whilst travelling. Here are some reasons about when to use what whilst traveling after your camp adventures.
Before you go, there’s a few things you should do.
1.) Tell your bank you are leaving the country. Therefore, the bank will know why your account is making purchases in a foreign country, and they are less likely to block your funds.
2.) Research if your bank has any international banking fees. You want to know how much it will cost you to make purchases on debit or credit cards or to withdraw money from ATMs whilst you are travelling.
3.) Know your personal international banking info. These are IBAN number and BIC/SWIFT number. If you are thinking about international bank/wire transfers, perhaps you are earning abroad and want to send money back home, you will need this information to complete this.
4.) Use technology to your advantage. Download currency converters and banking apps. Using these tools can make managing your money simple and easy wherever you are in the world.
Most people say cash is king whilst travelling and there are many benefits to having cash in your pocket. You can easily tip, use it on public transit, and it’s always an option if businesses do not accept your card or you cannot find an ATM. I would always arrive with a small-ish amount of cash - I say anything from $100 - $200 - to cover the beginning of my adventure.
The obvious risk with cash is that it can get stolen and then those funds are gone! Use common sense and do not walk around with all your money on you. Only take out your budget for the day.
Credit cards are a fantastic option for those large ticket items, like booking flights, hotels or renting a car. Your credit card has an insurance policy built in so if your airline goes bankrupt you do not need to fret as you are covered! Don’t do what I did, and book all of this on your debit card or travel card, because if something does end up going wrong, it will be harder to claim your money back and more of a hassle for you.
Only negatives to credit cards are the foreign conversion fees, be sure to know what this is and incorporate it into your budgeting.
Debit Card/Travel Top-up Card:
These two options are very similar as they operate in the same way. You can only spend what you have. The difference between the two is that usually your debit card will have currency/international fees attached every time you make a purchase. Whereas a travel top up card is like using your debit card at home. You can just tap and go.
I always use a travel top-up card during my travels, I upload funds from my bank account and it is usually one of the best conversion rates. I find it so easy to use, and it eliminates the risk of carrying an excessive amount of cash around.
Plus, for backpackers, it’s a great option as there are many different currencies available on one card. Save the hassle of constantly converting cash every time you enter a new country.