You can’t travel unless you have money to do so, and keeping your money safe (and easily available) is key to having a fabulous trip whether you are on a shoestring budget or have deeper pockets.
Here are a few tips to help prevent any (non self-induced) cash-flow disasters:
1. Before you leave home CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANIES!!! I can not stress this point enough. If you don’t call, ninety percent of the time, your card will be canceled or have a hold placed on it right when you have to pay for your hotel room or your expensive dinner. A simple call alerting them where you are going and for how long will prevent any disasters. Many card companies also have toll-free numbers that you can call from international locations if you have any issues.
2. Travellers Cheques are NOT useful. Believe it or not, there are people who still use them (no offense if you are one of those people). You will be hard-pressed to find any business that will take them, and there are not even many banks left that will be willing to cash them.
3. American money does NOT work everywhere you go, so don’t assume you can get away with using it before you have a chance to exchange it to the local currency.
4. Even in this ‘global’ world, exchanging money is not always easy. It was almost impossible for me to exchange the Budapest forint once I had left the country. Unless you are planning on going back to the country you are leaving, exchange your extra pesos, florins, drams and riels before you cross the border.
5. Do not keep all of your cash and cards in one place. Even if you are wearing a money belt the entire time you are traveling, it is important to have something extra tucked away just in case. I recommend sewing a small pocket in the bottom of your bag that you can tuck a card and some cash into, or placing a little cash under the insole of your shoe.