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Forums > Help! > Advice needed on carrying cash when travelling

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Faberg
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

veteran
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Total posts: 1459
Posted:hey folks,

i'm heading away in October for a year of adventure around the globe, and was wondering if any of you out there could lend some advice regarding how the best means of carrying cash whilst abroad.

the problem is, i'll be spending 6 months in such places as Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, most of which (with the exception of Nepal) have no ATM's. banks are few and far between too, and according to Lonely Planet, bank transfers can take up to 2 weeks in Cambodia.

so i'm guessing that a money belt is the way to go, but if you have to carry around all the cash you're gonna need for 6 months on your person; do sleep with your money belt? take it into the shower? i suppose all travellers wherever i'm staying (rock-bottom budget hostels!) will be in the same boat worrying about their own cash/gear/cameras etc, but i'm just being cautious.

so if anyone has any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated, as the thoughts of wandering around alone with a money belt full of cash for 6 months is slightly daunting.

also any other tips, advice, or general info relating to any of the listed countries would be much appreciated. i'd love to hear your stories and experiences, as i've heard very little about these countries first-hand, all I have to go on is reading material at the moment.

luv & hugz to all

Lisa peace


My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely smile

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX

Total posts: 2014
Posted:Not sure if this will help you much, but I found that while traveling in the middle of nowhere Mozambique that some of the hostels I stayed in actually would exchange money for you (true, at a rate not as good as I got in the capital) but it was still money that I needed. You might want to check if some of the ones you are staying at will do the same.

Some also have safes that you can put your valuables in while there, and even suggest that you do - you usually get to keep the key.


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DeepSoulSheep
GOLD Member since Sep 2002

DeepSoulSheep

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Berlin

Total posts: 2617
Posted:Bring a shovel and an empty map wink

I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

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_Aime_
SILVER Member since Jan 2004

_Aime_

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hastings

Total posts: 4172
Posted:in germany my friend got her bag unzipped by a pockpocket, although nothing was taken. we kept our money down our bra's after that, but i think that would get a lil uncomfortableafter six months rolleyes ubblol

Aimz xx


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Warchild
BRONZE Member since Jan 2004

After 17 hrs i got the little beautie
Location: Sunny Devon, UK

Total posts: 340
Posted:When i was away i had a money belt. You can get them from most travel/camping shops. i wore it under my jeans so nobody could half inch it with out me knowing. It was water proof as well so handy for swiming/showering etc. I wore it pretty much 24/7 while travelling. Or like spritie said if where your staying has safes use them. I also found that some hostels changed travellers cheques. Think that would be a lot safer way to go. Then if you do happen to lose them your still coverd. Its a lot to lose if you just have it in $$. Maybe a bit of both??

Sorry i cant be of anymore help. Hope you have safe and trouble free travels. wink


A wise man once told me, A friend will bail you outta jail, A great friend will be sitting beside you saying that was f**king awesome.

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certifiedloon
BRONZE Member since Jun 2004

newbie
Location: currently New Zealand

Total posts: 29
Posted:Yeah money belts seem to be the way to go - you can get some that just look like a regular belt but you can stick loadsa money in em!
I got a pouch that goes round your neck with a 'breathable liner' thingy on one side that was designed to go against skin so you wear it underneath your clothes. Quite good but not too comfortable. You can get them from most travel/outdoors shops like field n trek.
Another tip is the 'fake wallet' one, where you have an old wallet in your main pocket with expired cards and video membership cards etc with a bit of random change in it with which to fob off a theif whilst your proper wallet with all your mula in it remains safe. smile

Hope this helps and have fun - ain't travelling great!


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Eera
BRONZE Member since May 2003

old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:First of all, take US dollars as everyone wants them.

Then split your money between every place you can think of, they may get into one stash but not all of them; money belts are obvious, I've used the inner pocket of a wonderbra, under a shoe liner, I've sewn little bags into webbing belts, but my present method is simply to take a narrow wallet like the ones rail cards come in, stick the money on that and safety-pin it inside a pocket. I've not once found a pick-pocket who could undo a couple of safety pins without you noticing, and if they can, hell, they deserve it.

Magic Plastic is a good back-up as you can always find a large hotel who will convert it into cash if necessary.

Finally, enjoy your holiday, be sensible but don't let the money thing cause you too much stress.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:*bump*
as it is the holiday season
split your money, i find socks and bras work well or a boot
if you're just headed out for a quick run (beer, wine, snack, or you actually exercise) i like to put it in my sleeves


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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Rouge Dragon
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction

Total posts: 13215
Posted:i find money belts to not be a good idea. the belts are well known to theives and they know how to undo them without you noticing, and once its undone they'll bolt with it.

in that regard, the ones you sling around your neck are better, but as a female i find them quite useless. generally, female clothing is tighter than mens and therefore when you have a whole lot of money down them its pretty obvious you have money there.

i use one of those external pocket things like what people wear to raves. mine has inside pockets which are right against my skin and only acessible from the inside of the belt, meaning it really difficult even for me to get money out. and the belt itself is really secure.

thats my 2 cents!


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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Hanz


Hanz

veteran
Location: Bendigo, Vic, Australia

Total posts: 1328
Posted:at a venturer course I went to last year we discussed travelling, the only tip I can remember is splitting the money between everywhere on you. However, NEVER access these areas in a place where someone will see you. Have a little bit of money in a wallet, make sure it is enough to get you through a few hours but not so much that if you lose it it is a problem you will only go "oh well, there goes $20" for example. This will be the money you access in public when buying a drink or whatever

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:Have a few large notes folded up long ways and inserted into the hems of clothing. People don;t usually steal clothes.Take a small travel pillow and cut a slit into it on the side so it isn't visible from outside the pillow case. You can put notes right inside the foam. And use it as a pillow. wink

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Total posts: 5688
Posted:Sprain bandages are useful too for holding lots of notes in strange places...

Thieves are pretty wise to money belts, but strapping the dollars to your thigh, shin or bicep isn't the norm (yet wink ).
Also the bandages are fairly comfortable and discreet smile


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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ElectricBlue
SILVER Member since Feb 2002

ElectricBlue

Now with extra strawberries
Location: Canberra

Total posts: 810
Posted:If you are sewing litterate you could try makeing one of these for every day ventures they don't look as much like a money belt and are quite stylish.
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=47995.0
br>
Coming from sombody who is a compleat clutz when it comes to losing things the best thing you can do is split up your money so that if you lose any one stash you arent stuffed.


I {Heart} hand me downs and spinning in the snow.<br /><br />

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted::eeks: by the time I make it to throw in my 2 rupees, she's already back:

- money belt or waist bag is safest, besides using travellers cheques (small notes preferrably) and using all precautionary measures (read the TC manual)

- never flash too much cash

- when exchanging: use the lowest possible ammount to get from the airport to your destination and x-change more outside the airport

- if you receive small notes: stay AT THE COUNTER and count as thoroughly as possible (better twice and BEST: use a calculator to calculate HOW MANY NOTES you should have received, i.e. 10.000 Rupees in 100 rupee notes = 100 notes) don't worry about the people waiting behind you, and don't leave unless you are certain to have received the correct amount!

- don't exchange money when extremely tired, or hung over.

- sometimes the (unknown) fellow travellers will rip your cash, so don't tempt anybody and store it safely

- Euros are as good as US Dollars, so don't bother loosing money by exchanging Euros to Dollars to local currency...

- beware of "safes" (outside bigger hotels)

- a good knowledge of people is always the best safeguard, some host families and even "banks" were taking their trusted funds, as they had more than just "the one key"

- don't carry an empty wallet - always have a little bit of cash inside to satisfy the angry mugger

I hope this will be of some help, if I can think of more, I'll let you know smile


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Yell fire!
SILVER Member since May 2003

member
Location: London

Total posts: 151
Posted:Lots of good advice covering just about everything, except for the fact that you can't possibly travel with six months worth of cash!!?

Regardless of what Lonely Planet tells you, I think you'll find that large cities in just about every country DO have ATMs, many of which accept Maestro and most of which accept VISA. For example in Cambodia:

http://www.anzroyal.com/importantinfo/countrybriefs/atmlocations.asp
br>
You can also change travellers cheques in any large city at banks or large hotels. So you only need to make sure you have cash when travelling outside of main cities, which makes it a whole lot simpler because then you're only talking about a few weeks worth of cash at most, which is managable!

As for lockers and rooms in cheap hostels, it's always better to go for a place where you can use your own good quality padlock.


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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:Traveller's cheques are not popular like they were years ago. Shops and hotels I approached on my recent trip refused to have anything to do with them unless you were staying with them.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:yup working at the bank, we heard that a lot of places worldwide are no longer taking t.checks because they are starting to be widely faked and the fakes the only way to tell if they are faked..is to call and authorize them...t.checks are a big hassle
take a visa or maestro


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:TC's are still accepted anywhere in Banks anywhere. Credit Card is a good and valid option, CC-fraud is widely common, yet a lost/ stolen CC is not quite as much hassle as TC's.

But bear in mind, that many shopkeepers are not accepting CC's or will add 5% surcharge (+ you loose on exchange rates/ interest rates and processing fees) shrug choice between the devil and Lucifer wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:tc are NOT accepted in banks everywhere, i worked at a bank with lots of older folk traveling, they were turned down on a regular basis all throughout the world. some banks will only take ones that THEY issued. this includes major banks.

please qualify a statement before you claim something as fact and get someone stuck with tc's, they will have a hard time getting rid of

on the otherhand, ax has a cash card that can be used anywhere a tc or cc can be used and this includes atms and banks


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Faith - thanks heeps for pointing out another ridiculous (bank) policy that deminishes my very own interest of visiting the US in the near future.

I was referring to my own experience with VISA and AMEX-travellers cheques used INTERNATIONALLY (as in and outside the US). wink The only prob I really had was with the WellsFargo bank, who didn't want to cash my cheque without a thumbprint eek ("well if you have nothing to hide..." - yeah censored mad2 why not taking a DNA sample for cashing in a 100$ travellers cheque?)

In every other country I visited so far, TC's were accepted without hastle - errm ............... count the dots, sweetheart.

Not meaning to offend help hug wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:why not give your thumbprint? the copy made and kept online usually ends up as a black smudge anyway
i worked at a bank with amex trvlrchx, it was in a community where they travel a lot in europe and china and britian, and they all came back saying that they had problems cashing the checks even though in the past they had no problem, italy and greece
being from the US has nothing to do with any of this, it has to do with europe apparently, they were the ones who didn't take them
there is a lot of fraud with these checks that doesn't get put out there, but in the year that i worked at the bank, we had several alerts to fakes being put out there


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:Faithinfire is speaking the truth.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:faith: I never had any trouble with travellers cheques - it's just like that. shrug in none of the countries I went to. And I have never met anyone who had any problems... Just my experience, my truth. shrug Then again: I was never working in a bank.

Fraudolent chequing can be detected simply by making a phonecall and retrieving an authorisation code - this is what is happening since so much fraud occured...

I'm not doubting that you speak (your) truth.

What problem I have in leaving my thumbprint? eek umm

Well I am from the old world - maybe it's just that. I uncheck the fields where it is stated: Can we collect your personal data and use it for our purpose? I also ask myself: Why do I have to leave my thumbprint on a 100$ TC when this was never stated in the "Terms and Conditions" by the time I purchased them? (disclaimer: maybe I have overlooked that secion)

But bottom line: I (hopefully) will be amongst the last persons in my country that have their biometrical data collected for the mere purpose of getting a travel document... but this is a very different topic...

YOU CAN'T STOP TERRORISM WITH AN IRIS-SCAN... shrug

back to topic: Personally I rely on a healthy mix of

- TC
- Cash
- CC
- workpower, errm... a degree in "dishwashing" ubblol

wink hug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin

Total posts: 3556
Posted:the finger printing is the financial institutions policy and therefore it would be in their policy release forms

people come in and want to cash several checks, it is a time consuming process...

cash (spread it around in different places-don't let people see how much you have, i like also to keep smaller bills on the outside or on top, so it looks as though i only have small bills)
visa (don't let people know you have it, be careful when using it and be aware)
and as tom said work (reminding you that real life is just around the corner smile )

do not look like a tourist


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted: Written by: faithinfire



do not look like a tourist





clap clap clap



... or if you do, try hard to look as dodgy as possible - this way only the cops will harass you, never the muggers rolleyes wink rolleyes



Ah yes and one more: BARGAIN! As much and as hard as possible - ALL THE TIME wink And don't try to feel good and great upon leaving tips exceeding 20% - please spank

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1169475547)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:For the ladies, I have sewn a small "pocket" into my bra with a snap closure. I do it towards the top of the cup near the strap. That way it's safe and close to me and I don't look like I'm playing with the girls if I need money. wink I've done this for prolly 18 years now and I've never lost $ from it.

I've also sewn one into the inside of the waist of my jeans for a 5 day train trip and it worked great.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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SaBBaS


enthusiast
Location: Madrid, Spain

Total posts: 215
Posted:i was working with the spanish police translating reports for tourists and nearly everyday i had to make one of things being stolen out of the hotel rooms safe without anything being broken... (this happened specially in the canary islands, just be careful...) the other day my cousin had the same happening in a 4* in danmark, so i guess the safes arent that... safe? confused

Don't you destroy your enemy by making him your friend?? - Rev Bem (Magog), Andromeda

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