As much as I hate to admit it money is a huge factor in travelling and keeping track of your budget and handling your money well is an important part of backpacking – whether you’re hitting the road for 1 week, 1 month or 1 year.
So how do I manage my money on the road?
Have A Backup For Your Backup
When it comes to having access to your money whilst on the road it’s super important to have a few backup options incase your wallet gets lost or stolen.
I personally have 3 cards – a UK debit card, a travel cashcard and a UK credit card. All are stored in separate parts of my bag so that hopefully they wont all go missing at once!
My credit card is only used in extreme emergencies (in fact I’ve only had to use it once in 4 years) and my cashcard is my everyday card now so I basically have two backup options.
Give Access To A Trusted Person
Before I left to travel I walked into my UK bank and signed an easy form which gave my parents permission to deal with my account on my behalf which is something I’m glad I did.
This basically means if my card gets blocked or anything goes wrong with my account they can deal with it within the same time zone – which cuts down expensive long distance calls and juggling time zones.
So if you have a family member or friend you trust enough it’s well worth the extra paperwork to get them added onto your account.
Transferring Money Abroad
If you’re heading to Australia, New Zealand or anywhere on a working holiday visa it pays to brush up on how to transfer money abroad to avoid huge fees and give you better access to your funds – especially if you’re setting up a local bank account.
If you’re really on the ball you can also setup your foreign account before landing and chuck some cash over at the same time – allowing you to hit the ground running and avoid the fees on taking out cash abroad…every dollar counts!
Travel Card, Debit Card or Creditcard?
This is the main issue for anyone heading abroad and is a pretty personal decision – how do you manage your money on a day to day basis?
For me I chose the cashcard option, as it put me in charge of my dollar and had options for currencies worldwide. I’m changing it around soon for a UK account with a no fee international debit card attached so it could also be worth researching a new bank account before you leave.
For Americans the Charles Schwab account seems like the best option – it’s a credit card but it also refunds all foreign ATM fees each month, which will save you heaps! So if you’re from the USA take a look at the accounts they offer!
How do you manage your money whilst travelling – any alternatives you’d add to the list?