The Best Way to Carry Money Abroad | Essential Tips & Tricks

When travelling abroad, you will, of course, need money to pay for your hotels, food, drinks, and activities. Carrying large sums of cash is not always practical or safe. So, what is the best way to carry money abroad? How can you keep your cash safe and avoid scams? Read on to find our top tips and tricks for handling money on the road.

Vietnamese money

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Split cash up

Don’t stash cash in the same place. Split it up into different compartments of your bag or pockets. If you’re travelling as a couple, divide it between you both. Splitting cash up minimises the risk of losing it all.

Wear a money belt

The best way to carry money abroad when you’re out and about is to wear a money belt. However, when purchasing things, don’t take money directly out of them. This defeats the object of wearing one in the first place. Carry your wallet as normal, with only enough money for small purchases. When your wallet is empty, go somewhere discreetly to refill it.

Leave your cash locked away

Leave the rest of your weekly budget in a safe or locked away in a secret compartment of your backpack at your accommodation.  This is where your own padlock comes in handy.

Carry two bank cards

Make sure to have two accounts, that way, if you lose your debit card, you still have access to another one. It’s also a good idea to split your savings between the two accounts.

Use ATMs with caution

Be cautious when using ATMs. Only withdraw funds in well-lit areas and always check the card reader has not been tampered with. Avoid using mobile ATMs at all costs. The best ATMs to use are those inside banks, this way if anything unfortunate happens to your card, you can call for assistance right away.

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Avoid transaction fees

When withdrawing money, particularly in Europe, ATMs can offer the option between accepting the local exchange rate (which is presented on-screen) or your bank’s exchange rate (which is not declared on-screen). We advise opting for your own bank’s rate and clicking NO to their kind offer. By selecting to accept the bank’s exchange rate, we often saved over $10 with each transaction.

A mobile ATM machine in India
A mobile ATM in India

Only withdraw your weekly budget

Instead of withdrawing a large amount of cash from an ATM, only withdraw the amount you plan to spend in 1 week. This will help you stick to your budget and keep your money safe.

Only walk around with your daily budget

Like the tip above, only walk around with your daily budget. Carrying too much cash can make you a target for pickpockets. Furthermore, you don’t want to end up splashing all your cash at famous markets, such as Hanoi Night Market, or Thong Sala Market in Koh Phangan.

Study new currencies beforehand

When handling a new currency, take a bit of time to study the different denominations and their value. For example, with Vietnamese Dong, the 20,000 vnd ($0.85) note is the same colour as the 500,000 vnd ($21.35) note. It would be an unfortunate mistake to hand over a 500,000 vnd note for a piece of fruit.

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Download a currency converter on your phone

Download an offline currency converter before you head out. When dealing with new currencies, it’s not always easy to quickly work out the exchange rate. This is when you can fall victim to a scam or easily overpay for an item. With a currency converter, you can quickly type in the amount and convert it to a currency you’re familiar with.

Ebook Landing Page

Never exchange money on the street

If you’re looking to exchange your currency, be very sceptical of exchanging it with strangers on the street. They are likely to give you a bad exchange rate or fake money. It is always better to exchange your money in banks or currency exchange bureaus. Furthermore, be wary of scammers nearby watching you make an ATM withdrawal. If they offer to break your large value notes for smaller more manageable notes, politely decline. These smaller notes are often a different currency, and potentially worthless in comparison.

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Carry a dummy wallet

If you’re travelling to countries with high rates of muggings and thefts, it’s a good idea to carry a dummy wallet to throw down in case someone tries to mug you. Make sure this wallet looks genuine by putting a few small notes in it, and a few unimportant cards, such as expired gym membership cards or supermarket loyalty cards.

Never flash your cash

Even if it takes you a while to pick out the correct money, never let a stranger do it for you. This is how you can fall victim to having more money taken than what the item is worth.

Carry US dollars for emergencies

USD is a valuable currency and can be used pretty much anywhere in the world. Carry $50-100 with you to use in case of emergencies, or to buy visas.

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The Best Way to Carry Money Abroad | Essential Tips & Tricks
The Best Way to Carry Money Abroad | Essential Tips & Tricks

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