Friday, September 07, 2012

Money Matters

Being stuck overseas without easy access to money is not a pleasant prospect, but sometimes it happens. Experienced traveller Linda Brown writes in a recent blog post at about being in Australia when one of her bank cards started to be refused at bank macxhines. Because of the time difference and other hassles, she has had trouble reaching her U.S. bank to resolve the situation.
Luckily, she was carrying another bank card that still works. It makes sense to travel with at least two such cards, as well as plenty of emergency cash and, depending on your destination, traveller's cheques. In other parts of the world people can often use smart phones to make payments, but that technology is slow to reach North America.
In terms of cash, U.S. dollars are still the most widely accepted currency around the world. Make sure your dollars are crisp and new, though, or they may be refused abroad. If you are venturing into countries where civil unrest is possible, carry lots of recently minted $100 bills. In Europe, beleagured euros are still useful, and British pounds or Swiss francs can also be good.
As far as stashing the cash, money belts used to be handy, but with the proliferation of security check points everywhere they can be a problem, since you may be mistaken for a suicide bomber. I still tend to carry most of my cash and documents in a purse, but this may not be the smartest idea. Sewing some cash into the lining of a jacket or pants is another possibility.
If you are going overseas for an extended period, be sure to make advance arrangements with someone at home to send you money in an emergency. If all else fails, you can approach your embassy abroad for a sho9rt-term loan, but this will probably result in your being put on the next plane out. And you still have to repay the loan.


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