Demonetisation has made travellers all over the world really think about how to spend money sensibly while on the road. Whether you are backpacking in a relatively small town or staying at a swanky hotel in a big city, you can always find a way to make sure you have a way to pay. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you spend money optimally.
Multiple modes of payment: Always keep your payment options open. Along with local cash, make sure you have a working debit or credit card, and travellers’ checks are always a safe way to pay. Cash is no doubt the best and cheapest way to pay anywhere but you obviously cannot carry a large amount of it with you throughout your trip. If you are carrying cash though, always use a money belt.
Debit cards: Using cards for transactions has its own pros and cons. Debit cards are convenient, however, the fee for every transaction can be quite high. Your bank will charge you for every ATM transaction and the bank you withdraw from will charge you a fee as well. You can ask the bank for a breakdown of international transactions before you travel so it shows up in your next statement or simply ask them for more information regarding such transactions.
Credit cards: Spending with a credit card can be a little risky. There is always a chance of it getting stolen, and if you like shopping it could be your undoing in terms of spending. But credit card companies too can charge you quite a bit for international transactions, so they should only be used during emergencies.
Wiring money: While it is a more complicated process, wiring money is another way you can get money sent to you while you’re travelling. You will need someone from home to send you some money so let your family or a friend into the loop. You can choose which bank account to send the money to or collect it in cash from there.
Befriend a local: Always have a local contact in your destination country. They can give you tips about how to spend money wisely, get good deals and in extreme cases, lend you some local money.
Currency Exchange: Find currency exchanges that are not located at the airport, as their exchange rates are higher. Instead find one in the local town or go to a local bank. The best thing to do is to exchange them at your home country before you leave.
Use common currency: US dollar, Pounds Sterling and Euro are the most popular currencies to exchange and it is always a good idea to keep some of them on you regardless of where you travel or what your country’s currency is.
If there’s one thing demonetisation has taught us, it is that financial emergencies can hit anytime. You can have tonnes of money and still be stranded and helpless just because someplace doesn’t accept a certain method of payment. It is always better to be prepared, than find yourself in a bind.