It’s easy to get swept up in the hysteria of safety tips for your money when traveling. Which cards to take? How much cash should I carry? How do I avoid thieves? But like a swift autumn breeze, let these concerns drift away and simply think logically about day-to-day spending in a foreign country.
The best way to avoid having a large red sign with ‘Tourist’ above your head; is essentially to act and look like a local as much as possible. It feels natural to let your guard down slightly when you’re livin’ la vida loca, but be careful in not making a scene when rummaging through your wallet with large bills spilling out. It’s better to divide your cash into several areas, such as a wallet, rucksack and a secret location (e.g. old socks, back of a diary, etc).
Additionally, make sure you organize your cash before you travel, at many Travelex locations for example. This will save you money on exchange fees and also make you less of a target for those who prey on travelers at ATMs and airport currency exchange stores.
An often easier but sometimes more expensive option is using a credit or debit card. Transaction fees can be a real burden, so do some research with your bank and card provider before wheeling and dealing your plastic in shops and restaurants. What’s more, let your bank know when you’re traveling and to which countries, as without this knowledge they may instantly block your card when witnessing several new transactions in a foreign land.
Prepaid cards are a useful and different option for the frequent traveler, as they are not linked to a particular bank. There are many on the market these days, such as the up-and-coming Yuna card for example. This particular card can be used in places across the world that accepts Mastercard. The card can then be topped up with an online account with paysafecard, thereby giving yourself a limited amount according to your budget. However, be sure to check which prepaid card is available to be purchased in your country of residence.
As it’s impractical to divide your cards into different areas, one trick could be to resort to deception. Use a thin belt pack around your waist or even carry a fake wallet in your back pocket, containing old and useless cards, a few low bills and keepsakes. In the unlikely event you’ll be robbed, this counterfeit wallet will be a great sham for the would-be thieves.
Bonus Tips For Keeping Safe
Make absolutely certain you have the contact details of your bank and the local police; should any theft or robbery occur. Furthermore, it’s well advised to take a photocopy of all important documents, such as passports and driving licences.
Do some research into where you’re going and whether or not you’re likely to feel safe. But above all, keep your wits about you and trust your instincts about whether the place or situation you’re about to enter has an atmosphere of insecurity.