If you’re an avid traveler, you’ve probably had your share of unexpected trip twists, but few unpleasant surprises on the go can beat those starring finances. And the best part is – there’s no knowing where and when a financial crisis may hit a homerun and leave you stripped of basic sustenance for the duration of the trip (or even longer). To prevent money-related shockers on the fly, follow these simple steps and pull out all the stops on the road to superior travelling experience.
Lower money withdrawal feesUnless you intend to lug around a hefty wallet and risk being robbed while you’re having a blast, you’ll need to withdraw cash from the ATM at least once in a while. To reduce trip expenses, arm yourself with one or more debit cards from a bank that offers lowest international cash withdrawal fees and has a number of ATMs at your destination.
Switch to internet bankingWhen selecting the bank in which to open a new account, look into available e-banking options. That way, you’ll be able to both reduce the amount of cash you have on you at all times and the total time spent in bank waiting lines. On top of that, you’ll be able to keep track of your money transfers and review trip spending once you return home.
Link checking and savings accountYou never know whether fate will keep smiling on you for the entire duration of the trip, or whether she will throw you an emergency curveball somewhere along the way. To stay on the safe side of potential on-the-go crises that may require extra cash, link checking and savings accounts before departure. That way, you’ll be both able to access emergency stash and earn a nice interest in case you don’t withdraw more money than you have on your bank account.
Take multiple debit and credit cardsA traveler’s luck is a whimsical creature: it only takes a few seconds for your credit or debit card to drop to the ground or be snatched when you’re not looking. Even if the ATM doesn’t swallow the card, it’s always better to carry a spare one in a separate pocket for backup’s sake. Dividing your cash into multiple accounts is also a good strategy to keep tabs on trip spending: one card can function as the main travel budget and the other one can double as the emergency fund.
Stock up your to-go cash stashOne or more debit or credit cards are a traveler’s must-have, but ready-use cash is no less vital. Don’t bank on ATM machines being available at every corner – and don’t rely on the ones you come across having cash ready for withdrawal. Before heading out, make sure you’ve packed a decent cash stash in your backpack, and you can also consider dividing ready money into two or more stacks.
Cross-compare exchange ratesExchange rates can be a real menace, especially when visiting countries abroad for the first time. Don’t let local exchange offices rob you of hard-earned coins: always double-check conversion rates before you whip out your money and hand it over to the changer. If possible, spend a few more minutes selecting a payment service that offers fixed and lock-in exchange rate options – that way, you’ll be able to cut total conversion fees and save up for a pricier souvenir or even a cool day trip.
Spend foreign cash before leaving
Some currencies aren’t convertible outside their country of use, which is why it may be a good idea to spend the foreign cash you have before departure. Also, don’t convert more money than you actually need to avoid piling up cash which you won’t be able to use once the trip is over.
Handling finances is a touch-and-go even when you’re at home – but once you cross the border, it gets a thousand times tougher call. Be money-wise: spend smart, count your blessings (and your coins too), and follow the steps listed above to prevent getting locked out of your funds on the fly. Good luck!