Travelling: Money Help

Old Sep 9th, 2015, 02:10 PM
  #1  
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Travelling: Money Help

Hi all,

Not sure if this is in the right place I can't find somewhere specific to go!

I'm travelling for 3 months at the end of the year and going to be taking a fair amount of money with myself. Whats the best way to take it to keep safe and for ease also?

I'm going to these following places and taking the rough amount beside...

Australia: Staying with friends at their house (2000AUD)

Bali: Staying in a villa (600AUD)

Thailand: On a tour (600AUD)

Laos, Cambodia: Backpacking for a month (1600AUD)

Do I go cash card and use ATM's, or just carry cash. Any ideas on travel money cards or whats best to do?
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Old Sep 9th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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Leave most of it in whatever bank account is accessed by your ATM card. Or, you might want to open a new travel account, as I have recently, that charges no foreign currency conversion fee, in my case a Capital One 360 checking account, only the 1% MasterCard fee, and get cash as you need it, from local ATMs.

I think it's a good idea to carry a bit of emergency money tucked away somewhere but I do and never use it. ATMs are very reliable.

I now have 3 accounts I can access, 2 with no conversion fee and 1 extra, my neighborhood bank, that charges 3%. But I'll be surprised if I ever need that one.
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Old Sep 9th, 2015, 02:53 PM
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Why are you taking cash!!! Especially to (in?) somewhere like Australia! ATMs are everywhere these days. Tell your bank you're traveling, and just get money as you need it. (And check what fees your bank charges, you may want to get an account with somewhere like Capital One that has no foreign conversion fees and no fees for using other banks' ATMs.) Ditto for you credit cards. And watch out for the Dynamic Currency Conversion scam. You want transactions in the local currency, not Your home currency.
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Old Sep 9th, 2015, 06:35 PM
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kja
 
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I agree with MmePerdu and thursdaysd with one additional remark: Consider traveling with at least 2 options for ATM withdrawals and at least 2 credit cards.
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Old Sep 9th, 2015, 07:14 PM
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Yes, kja, indeed, and what I do. Three debit cards, 3 credit cards.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 01:41 AM
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Yes, indeed. I travel with three ATM cards and five credit cards.... I actually used ATM card number two yesterday, as there wasn't a bank with an ATM near where I was staying, and if one got eaten I prefered it not to be number one card.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 02:01 AM
  #7  
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I don't have credit cards only debit cards in England. Was just thinking to take a prepaid card like a fairfax type thing which I can load money onto via internet straight from my English account..
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 02:07 AM
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Look into the fees. Why no credit card? Safer than debit.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 02:16 AM
  #9  
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Because I've never needed a credit card really, just want an easy way to spend and store money in those asian countries. Bali & Australia I'll be fine in as I'm in secure housing and can keep cash on me and use prepaid cards in Australia.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 04:04 AM
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The “easy way to spend and store money” that you say you want is a low fee account in your home bank and an ATM/debit card. You seem to prefer other options,

You say you have never needed a credit card. Well, you might when travelling. Most hotels, tour companies, rental car agencies ask for a credit card when arranging for the service. Often you will not be charged until you complete your stay or rental or whatever, but the operator is covered if you incur extra charges or don’t follow through, for example are no show without cancelling within the required time.

A CC company will also offer you protection by reversing charges in many instances where you pay for a service that is not delivered, for example the accommodation you have booked and is not available, or an operator goes out of business taking your money with them. And you will have a back up plan if your wallet or whatever is stolen or lost (provided you keep a credit card separate from your cash). Stuff happens.

An additional advantage to using debit and credit cards is that you can access what you need, when you need it. It makes sense to estimate what your expenditures will be while travelling, but with cash or cash cards you limit yourself to a pre determined amount. You might need more, especially for emergencies, or in the (unlikely) case of money left over when you return home, have to pay again to convert cash back to your home currency.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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Jonathan, it appears you signed up here to ask this question and you've gotten solid advice that every experienced traveler knows. Now you know too. No one is required to follow the advice they've been given but not sure why you wouldn't. We all have habits at home and some are less useful on the road. Wads of cash are simply unnecessary, even in Bali & Australia. Think about it.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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>

I don't care how "secure" you think your housing is, I still wouldn't carry all cash for a 3 month trip on my person.

You need an ATM card for sure. And most people have a credit card or two as a backup for emergency situations.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 11:42 PM
  #13  
kja
 
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What MmePerdu said.

FWIW, I traveled to Russia in days when the advice I got was to take LOTS of cash in small bills. I don't know if that advice was good or bad, but I followed it -- to my great regret. I had thick wads of bills in 4 separate under-garment "passport" pouches, each with two separate plastic wrapped stacks of bills -- one pouch under each arm, one at/below my waist to the front and another to my back. I looked like an injured American football linebacker still wearing his blocking pads -- and I'm a woman who was, at the time, quite slender. And OMG, it was unspeakably awkward and uncomfortable! I couldn't fully lower my arms. I couldn't sit comfortably. And since I had put all the packets of money in plastic to protect them from sweat, it also meant that it took only a tiny bit of exertion or heat to turn me into a smelly, sweat-drenched mass. If that makes more sense to you than arranging a few ATM or credit cards, all I can say is: good luck, to you and anyone who will be near your during your travels!
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Old Sep 11th, 2015, 03:28 AM
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LOL, kja. With airline seating so cramped now, you probably wouldn’t even fit in a seat. Or perhaps you would be mistaken for a suicide bomber and have to strip in the security line.

I tried a money belt one and found it so awkward to access discreetly I would end up mistakenly stuffing bills down my pant leg.

ATMs for me.
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Old Sep 11th, 2015, 04:00 AM
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You are not supposed to access a money belt "discretely". You are supposed to access it only in private. Money you need during the day is held elsewhere.
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Old Sep 11th, 2015, 07:58 AM
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Not only ease of transport and personal safety, but protection from theft. You can always stop a credit/ATM card. You can even report them stolen online. Once cash is gone, it's gone forever. You'll never be able to get it back.
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Old Sep 12th, 2015, 11:14 AM
  #17  
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@suze I'm staying in friends house's which have big safes in.. it's safe. Although I wouldn't take loads of money in cash, just some as you can't use card all the time.
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Old Sep 12th, 2015, 11:48 AM
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"...cash, just some as you can't use card all the time."

That's why ATMs are good and cash isn't. Local currency is available 24/7 from ATMs, while finding places to change currency is limited by hours and finding a place that will change it for you. You'll also lose money when you change it, ATM rates are far better.

Jonathan, are you asking for approval to carry cash from home? Or do you want to know the best way to proceed? It still appears to be the former.
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Old Sep 12th, 2015, 11:52 AM
  #19  
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Well the best way to proceed. From what I've read just take two debit/prepaid cards which I can replace if lost or stolen. And then take some cash out each week to spend as and when.
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Old Sep 12th, 2015, 12:19 PM
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"I don't have credit cards only debit cards in England. Was just thinking to take a prepaid card like a fairfax type thing which I can load money onto via internet straight from my English account.."

Jonathan, as you are from England, as indeed am I, you have exactly the right approach as outlined above. Might have help other provide more pertinent advice if you mentioned your home country at outset as banking services and consumer protection legislation vary tremendously from country to country.

We are more or less permanent travellers these days and use a number of FairFx prepaid cards denominated in £, € and US $. There service is exceptional, their charges and fx rates very competive, better than anything else I could find.

Having travelled extensively in all of the countries you mention I found them easy to use either at ATMs or as a "normal" debit card today for accommodation or meals, or goods etc. cheaper to do this than use ATMs.
As I believe thursdaysd mention above it is a sensible precaution to take more than one card so if one is eaten, lost or stolen, you are not stranded. fairfx will issue cards for free, subject to a minimum initial top up of £200. If you do lose one card they will simply transfer the balance to your other card.

You can top up by using your main debit card online or via online banking. I use their iPad app which is great. You will need your main debit card details inc. the CVC number to do this but no need to take the card with you as you can set it up online in advance and just enter the CVC at the end of the process.

As you are going to Cambodia t may be worthwhile buying a USD card as that is the de facto currency their. I always take a supply of USD $100 bills for emergencies.

When drawing cash from ATMs try to find out whether the ATM bank has any charges ( most will tell you before completing the transaction) if so it makes sense to withdraw the max.
Finally, try to use ATMs located inside, or attached to, banks during opening hours. That way, if the machine eats you car you have a reasonable chance of getting it back quickly. Never, ever, use stand alone ATMs in 7-11s etc.

Happy travels
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