I’ve been travelling for years on end, it seems like a crazy dream of a life. I sleep in about 230 different beds/floors/seats every year. I never have a set home, but yet I managed to survive money wise through the jobs I’ve had along the way, and thankfully now through my blogs, websites, app planning and e-Books. But some new travellers out there might be scared where to start – how to save, what way to pay for things. I’m very much a cash in hand person. I like to pay for things in cash first and foremost. I still hate internet banking, paying for things on card and internet transactions. When I started out, it was always cash cash cash. But the world has changed.
Here are my top five money tips which highlight why it’s important to travel with cash and cards.
1.ALWAYS Carry US Dollars
It’s essential. Even if you don’t like the USA, or their Dollar, you should ALWAYS carry US Dollars. They are the most accepted currency around the world in banks, offices, businesses and visas in embassies. In the following countries, the US Dollar is also the official currency: Ecuador, USA, El Salvador, East Timor, Panama. So make sure you have them! I had to use them to get my Suriname Visa in 2011, which was a crazy time to be in Venezuela as the black market crashed.
2.ALWAYS Carry at least one other Currency
When I’m in Asia I try to also carry Chinese RMB. Sometimes it’s Hong Kong Dollars. In Europe, I always carry British pounds, and as much as I hate the Euro currency, unfortunately I have to use them, so I carry them. It does still feel weird paying for things in “Germany” using a European note rather than a Deutsch Mark. But that’s what happend when you sell your country out.
3.Be Aware of Restrictions
Certain countries have tight money laws and restrictions. For example, if you backpack through North Korea, you cannot use North Korean Won (pick them up as a souvenir). If travelling to Cuba, please be aware of the plastic and money tips for Cuba to get you by. If you are in Gibraltar or Northern Ireland, the pounds you use there may not be accepted everywhere in countries like Wales and England. It is also advised to carry cash when backpacking through Iran and Nagorno Karabakh – those countries do have ATMs but they only give out money to local card holders.
4.Carry Multiple Bank Cards
I opened bank accounts in 4 different countries along the way, this means I carry multiple cards. If one card doesn’t work in a certain country, then others will. Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted, but here are a few countries I’ve been to that didn’t accept them (at least on my visit):
– North Korea
– Nagorno Karabakh
5.Be Aware of Fees and Hidden Charges
I’ve learned from my mistakes. I have been overcharged manys a time so I am well aware of scams, hidden fees and money vendors taking advantage. Always check the exchange rates in advance, check your change before you leave a venue. Over the years these little things will save you more money than you’d expect. There are rip off merchants and asswipes on every corner, of every street.
Don’t fret too much though, safe travels!