Travelling overseas can be a little daunting, even more so if you plan on travelling solo. There is plenty of potential for things to go wrong and there is so much you need to be aware of – especially your money. Over the years, I’ve learned a few money smart ways to travel that have helped me avoid some potentially disastrous situations. When I was living in London I used to get teased for being paranoid about my money and safety, but I was one of the only girls in my circle of friends who was never mugged, had anything stolen such as a credit card or camera. So what are the best ways to travel with money? Keep reading and find out my top 7 money smart ways to travel. HAVE CASH ON YOU WHEN YOU ARRIVE This is the one tip my mother always drills into me – always have a small amount of cash on you when you arrive at your destination. Don’t assume you can withdraw cash from an ATM at the airport when you arrive. Having cash on you gives you a little bit of security for those unexpected moments. It’s also great when you need to buy a few snacks, for tipping taxi drivers or making phone calls. But remember, you don’t need wads of cash – this will only draw attention to you. And don’t spend this money if you don’t have to. Set this small amount aside for the entire duration of your trip.

SHARE YOUR TRAVEL PLANS This tip might sound obvious but so many travellers forget to notify their banks of their travel times and destinations. If you don’t and you end up spending more money than usual amount of money, your bank may suspect its being used fraudulently and suspend your card. This means you may be without money for a period of time. So always remember to tell your bank before you leave and whilst I’m at it, also tell your mobile phone provider as well in case your phone gets stolen or damaged abroad. They may even be able to provide options to reduce the cost of calls and texts overseas, which will help you avoid receiving a big phone bill when you get home.

ORGANISE A TRAVEL MONEY CARD Whilst many travellers still purchase their travel money before they go or use travellers cheques, I’ve long farewelled this method of carrying money. Instead I prefer to use a travel money card such as Qantas Cash Card. With Qantas Cash I can load multiple currencies at once, which is great if I’m hopping between countries. I avoid carrying wads of cash, and can also kiss goodbye purchase fees as well as international transaction fees because I’m paying in the local currency. Plus, it also helps me collect Qantas Points which I can use to pay for my next flight hoorah!

PLAN AHEAD Whether you settle on cash or card when sorting your travel money, just don’t leave it to the last minute. Changing money at the airport means you’ll likely be faced with poor exchange rates and high fees leaving you with less of your cash to splash. Again, a pretty compelling reason for why I choose a travel money card - it lets me lock in the exchange rate before I go so I know exactly how much money I have to play with when I get there.

KNOW WHERE TO WITHDRAW MONEY Knowing where to withdraw money is vital. Did you know your bank will have affiliations with other banks around the world? In Australia, I bank with Westpac and in London, I banked with HSBC. Both are affiliated and helped me save money on fees but also helped greatly when I travelled around Europe if I needed to transfer funds from my Australian account into my UK account, and vice versa. If you’re not sure, give you bank a quick call to find out.

KEEP YOUR MONEY SECURE Regardless of how much cash you carry with you on your travels, you need to be mindful and not flash it around. Drawing attention to yourself and your burgeoning wallet is not ideal. Consider investing in a travel money belt, which you wrap around your waist and hide underneath your clothes. These are great to store extra cash whilst only keeping a small amount in your wallet. I also know friends who wear sneakers and put cash in their socks, or even keep folded cash in their bra.

TRANSFERRING FUNDS If you need to transfer funds whilst overseas, you can avoid the extra expense of using your 3G or paying for Wi-Fi by keeping an eye out for free Wi-Fi spots. Most hotels and hostels include free Wi-Fi in their accommodation. Failing this, you can always try places like McDonalds and Starbucks to use their free Wi-Fi. This is another great way to save money as using your own personal data overseas can be super expensive and no one likes coming home after an incredible holiday abroad to a nasty bout of bill shock!


This is in collaboration with Qantas Cash. All thoughts are my own. Photo taken at Blue Pools in New Zealand, check out my blog post here.

TipsJaharn GilesComment