Money makes the world go ‘round, and it also allows us to go all ‘round the world.
Unfortunately, all that going ‘round and ‘round can make a person dizzy. Before you know it, you’ve spent way more than you can afford. Even worse, you could lose your wallet or have it stolen from you. When that happens, suddenly you find yourself far from home with no money, no ID, and possible identity theft to worry about.
Don’t let the worst impulses of others, or your own for that matter, get the best of your bank account. Here’s some advice for how to keep your finances safe and secure the next time you’re traveling.
Make a Budget
Many of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to spending. Self-control isn’t easy without proper planning. That’s why, when preparing for a trip, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out a budget.
How much you need depends largely on your reasons for traveling. Is it business or pleasure? Are you going to Florida to vacation at Disney World or to scout Fort Lauderdale houses for sale? How much do you have saved up and what can you spare?
Feel free to leave yourself some wiggle room for spontaneity and emergencies, but otherwise try to stick to your budget as much as possible.
Cards vs. Cash
It may seem superficial to debate the merits of cash, credit, and debit, but choosing the right one for the right situation can make all the difference when traveling.
Cash is a great way to limit yourself. Take out only what you can afford and when that’s gone, you’re done. However, if your money gets lost or stolen, it’s gone forever. With credit or debit, it’s relatively easy to cancel your card as soon as you notice it missing, but it’s also easier to get in over your head spending.
The perfect compromise might be pre-paid travel cards. These work like debit cards, only instead of connecting to your bank account, you pre-load them with a certain amount of money. Divide your planned budget up into multiple cards, but only carry one or two on you at a time.
A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s good advice for anything, but especially money and especially during travels. It’s never easier to lose track of things than when you’re on the move. Staying organized helps prevent that.
It also helps prevent theft. Always know where your money and credit/debit cards are, and always keep them close. Criminals know how to spot tourists and view them as easy pickings. Waist packs and anti-theft wallets offer an easy way to prove them wrong.
At the end of each day, do a “money check” to keep track of your financial situation. This can help keep you from running into unpleasant surprises.