17 February 2009
Before you go abroad you´ll need to think about how much money you´ll need, what format you´re going to take it in and where you´re going to stash it. The following tips should help you when thinking about cash on your gap travel:
´ Check the validity, expiry dates and cash available on your credit or debit cards ahead of your trip - it´s best to know your spending limits before they run out!
´ With a world-wide ATM network you can withdraw cash from hole-in-the-wall machines in most places abroad. Check with your bank prior to going abroad whether you can use your debit/credit card in the countries you are visiting and any card usage charges that may apply. If you plan to get the bulk of your funds in this way, be sure to keep your cards safe.
´ Take at least two cards, making one your emergency reserve and make sure you know the PIN numbers for both debit and credit cards - keep the emergency card somewhere safe.
´ Make a note of your credit / debit card details and the 24-hour emergency numbers and keep them separately.
´ Make sure you have back-up funds such as travellers´ cheques, sterling, Euros, US dollars or a credit card you don´t intend to use except in emergencies. It´s often better to over budget in case of emergencies.
´ Have a return ticket, or enough money to buy one. It´s worth noting that if you don´t have a return ticket, many countries will refuse you entry unless you can prove you have enough money to buy one. Also be aware that British consular staff can´t send you home for free if you run out of money!
´ Always have some change in the local currency for when you arrive in case you need to make a telephone call. It is also advisable to have some local currency in small bank notes to catch a taxi or get something to eat or drink on arrival.
´ Make sure you have at least two forms of payment - take a mixture of cash, travellers´ cheques and credit cards. Don´t keep them together in one place in case you lose them or they are stolen.
´ Jot down your travellers cheque numbers and an emergency telephone number for them should they get lost or stolen.
´ When carrying money around with you, use a wallet for loose change and your day-to-day spending. Wear a secure money belt under clothing for your valuable documents and money.
´ Work out your budget before you go. Some pre-trip research will make it easier to work this out and try and stick to it. Think about how much you´ll need on a daily basis - such as food, accommodation and any additional activities - and then work that out for the number of days you´ll be away.
´ You´re likely to be away for a long time so make sure you´ve made arrangements for any credit card bills to be paid - or your card may be stopped.
´ If you want to, you can give someone the power of attorney to look after your financial affairs in the UK, while you´re away.