Handling Travel Money: Go Native


Traveling with cash is always dicey, whether domestic or foreign, it’s the same risks. From plain losing a bill or two due to being a klutz or worst case getting a slit purse, cash is risky business. Last tour I did fairly well with using hotel safes and only taking a small amount with me in actual cash per day. But this is not always possible depending on where and what kind of accommodation you will have, and well trusting staff at an accommodation is not always a safe bet.

I prefer spending most of my time in classic Levis jeans. Grew up with that. Problem is that women’s jeans really have shallow, useless pockets. I find that I can get away with stashing a fiver or a ten in the small key pocket for the small money things you need. Hiding larger bills means using either a money belt or a bra pocket. Getting to these means you have to use the toilet for access, since well the idea is that they are concealed. So make sure you have basic

Money Management Before You Go
How will you keep track of travel expenses and budget? Remember those things called notepads? I still keep a small hard copy notepad with me to jot things down. Now I will guard my smartphone with my life. But, the small chance that you may have it stolen means you need to have some form of your notes in hard copy. Online if you are using your travel cards, such as a Travelex card, you can keep track of expenditures online, and watch the usage fees. Of course, writing down your pass codes on the small notebook is not a good idea, we should all know this but many of us do it all the same.

Decide on a budget. How much can you get by with on the day in you plan for the cities you are visiting? If you can, you may want to do the Bed and Breakfast deal if you are staying in one of those. This can be included in your hotel price and free up some foodie cash. Granted, breakfast can be boring if you have had 5 Scottish breakfasts in a row, but it frees up cash. Also, if you may be doing taxi, most drivers prefer tips in cash, so keeping at least a fiver available for tips is good, but preferably tip the going percentage for the area.

Book any tours in advance if you can, this means more cash on hand if you need it and less places to have to whip out your chip. Travel sites like Trip Advisor have boiling for tours on them, and if you can plan a few days in advance, you will be able to book online via credit card or PayPal. Make sure you get a printed receipt at your hotel to show, but this means you have your budget and space on tour figured out ahead. Or using online tour apps via smartphone you can download tickets to your online wallet and scan.

Booking your hotel stays online also means that you credit cards may get charged before you go, but if you at least have ID you have room booking paid for if you have to have your credit cards replaced while traveling. Hotels do want you to present the credit card you booked with, so you should have the one with you that you initially booked with if possible. You can always opt for other payment. Hint: Check for pre charges before you leave. Some hotels will verify your card several times before date and or charge you full stay. Make sure you keep track so you are not double charged and can’t fix it in person.
Money Belt?
Okay fashionistas, you all went “Eww” when you read that. I think to myself, okay bulky things to be worn underneath, ick. I contemplated this old travel belt concept this time in planning, and wondered, is there a better way to do this? Women don’t always have a regular fashion belt even, and if you are wearing a skirt, not always a good option while traveling for you know, the reasons we don’t want to think about, it’s best to stick with trousers. Not only are there pick pockets about, but gropers are everywhere and you don’t need that hassle as well. There are bra or neck pouches for women, men usually opt for a hidden wallet, or a real leather belt with a stash.

Problem with a money belt, you look like a target. If you try to access anything while in a shop, people will notice. Locals don’t wear them. Nothing screams tourist more than someone fiddling with a money belt. Getting a hidden pocket inside things and only accessing when you use the toilet may be a safe bet, but if you aren’t used to wearing one and you start standing out a bit, you can make yourself more of a target. If you are staying in a place that has a room safe, use it. You can set up your own code. And be aware of how you act in public. Constantly checking to see if it’s still there will give you away.

Travel Trousers and Cargo Pants
Men usually stick to trouser pockets, and for the most part women should invest in travel trousers/cargo pants as one item you take with you. They are very convenient with pockets for everything. Back in the days of the camera roll I remember how happy I was I had gone to the army surplus and found military camo pants. Great fro train travel. Now you can get some very sophisticated items and shop at places like REI or other travel supply firms and get some convertibles that have zip off legs. The price can get really high, some trousers starting at $75.00 pair.

Packs and Locking
Travel day back packs and pouches should have a locking mechanism, even if it’s not a real lock, something that means it’s not an easy pull open. This will only keep opportunistic snatchers at bay, if someone wants it, they will slash. You should have a travel pack for day of some kind with you because you should carry water bottle and maybe a few necessities including aspirin or other anti inflammatory, sunscreen. Traveling light during your touring is essential to moving around and not looking like the typical tourist easy victim you can be. Practice with your day pack before you go, get used to carrying what you really need and don’t think too fashionista. Passports should stay in the hotel room if you have a safe locking situation and if you are not in a country that really needs you to have ID on you at all times. This really is any country, but if you can manage it, don’t have the passport in a pack that can get slashed. If you look like you got money, they will find you. Traveling with others is always a good plan as the buddy system works out well in keeping an eye out for each other. Have a system set up if your companion gets hit with a snatch.

So what are the best things for you to use, what is the minimum? A safe space to stash your money and cards, passport that you can keep close to your body at all times. Low profile is best, money spread out, no bulk. Read up on some reviews. I have a few listed below here to get you started. Think about how you like to be on a regular day about town, and how would any of these considerations make you alter that. You don’t want to appear too touristy. That reads target. Maybe try to go for the student look, but a very aware one.

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