What to do with your money

The amount of money you are going to need when travelling is an important question to ask and a hard question to accurately answer. The amount depends on how long you are going to be travelling, what you are going to be doing, and how much you intend to spend while you’re on the road.

Do some research in your guidebook and on the Internet to find out the range of prices you will be encountering. Make sure you convert the currency to something you understand to get a good estimate. Knowing how much you are going to spend before you go will help you know how much money you are going to have to save. It is always good to have a bit more for emergencies and to have some to come home to. You will spend money every day on your accommodation and eating. Wherever you travel you will have to pay for transportation. You may have to pay for a visa to cross into a country. The rest are your more optional expenses that can be moderated. Purchasing items for yourself and others or using services such as the Internet or phone are small costs but will add up over time. Taking a course or paying an entrance fee for a museum or exhibition will also drain your funds. A night of drinking and socializing has the potential of being costly.

Some countries require that you have and can prove that you have a specific amount of money in your bank account before they let you into the country. Do some research ahead of time. I use two separate bank accounts to draw money from and each account has its own bank (ATM) and credit card. One account is my primary that I draw on for the majority of my funds, the second account is for an emergency backup (again, with its own bank and credit card). I do this for two reasons.

The first being that if I lose one set of cards, I have backups in my money belt. Secondly, if I run out of money on my primary account, I know I either have to find more money or cut my travelling short since I am pulling from my emergency account.

Travellers’ cheques used to be the way to go before the invention of the bank card. I do take travellers’ cheques but as a last resort or ‘I need money now’ cases. Emergency money on hand is also important to have. Figure out how much the following would cost: You are stuck in the middle of nowhere and need to get transportation ($) to a hotel for the night ($), a quick meal ($) and then a trip to the airport ($). Take this amount and have it on you at all times and keep it in your money belt. If you loose everything, you still have enough to get you a meal, shelter and a trip to the airport.