6 Tips for Handling Money While Traveling

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Out and About in Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers

I travel a lot, so naturally, I receive a ton of questions from friends, family, and readers. The questions range from what to pack to how to prevent illness while traveling. In this post, I wanted to address another question that I have received: how do you handle money while traveling?

This list is what has worked for me during my travels. Without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order):

  1. Carry cash. If I am traveling internationally, which is most of the time, I usually have $500 on hand. I split the $500 between USD and the local currency at my destination. I use the currency exchange at my departure airport. I have found that this is easier for me than waiting to arrive at my destination. If I am traveling domestically, I carry half of the amount. The money is used to cover any unexpected expense that may arise. 
  2. Carry a credit card with no foreign fees. I have a few credit cards that fit this criteria so I take the one that has the most benefits for me on that trip. Be sure to let your bank know that you will be traveling so the fraud department will not suspend your card. 
  3. Purchase a public transit card. In places like Japan or Singapore, they has excellent public transportation. The problems could arise during the changing of trains or buses in an unfamiliar station. The transit card alleviates the need to try understand local currency when you are rushed and frustrated. 
  4. Download/install a ride sharing app. Uber has been my go to ride sharing app. With ride sharing apps, my credit card is protected and i know how much a ride will cost.  If I have an issue with a driver, I can contact the company. In places like Costa Rica, there are many taxis that have a rate for locals and one for foreigners. With these taxis, there is usually no company to contact if you are defrauded. 
  5. Separate the money. I usually put my money into three separate locations. Two of those are on my person and one is in the hotel room. I do this so that I will still have funds if my wallet is lost or stolen. 
  6. Don’t be afraid to tip.  I have found that tipping can go a long way in most countries.  You have to trust your instincts. Whether it is getting inside of a busy restaurant/club or entering an exclusive event, a few dollars should do the trick.

Final Word

My travel experiences are different than a lot of people, but this list should serve as a baseline for even the novice travelers. Explore different options and find out what exactly works for you.

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