Carrying large amounts of cash around with you on holiday is never a good idea. But organizing travel money should be a key part of preparing for a trip. While it is never advisable to carry large amounts of cash with you, having convenient ways of paying for things is preferable. Here are some options.
A brief history of travel money
Money has been a definitive part of human culture ever since King Alyattes of Lydia first minted a coin bearing the image of a lion. Before money existed, bartering was the medium of value exchange in an “if you drag me across the river in your boat, I’ll give you some homemade beer” kind of way. While bartering, to some extent, still lives on in many parts of the world, (there’s even a smart tech Barter-card in use today for those wanting to use a platform for exchanging goods and services), it isn’t the most feasible method of buying a boat ticket across the St Lawrence.
The Chinese took money transactions one step further with the introduction of paper money marked with the ominous script; ‘all counterfeiters will be decapitated’. Meanwhile, in Europe, things took longer to move on. Coins eventually turned into notes in the 17th Century, primarily for colonial traders to be able to conduct their import/export business around the world. Using promissory notes agreed by banks and financiers, it enabled trade to be conducted around the globe, which could often take many months to complete.
These notes were in effect the first kind of traveller cheques. One of the first was used in Canada where colonial French soldiers were issued playing cards signed by the governor to use instead of French coins. This shift to paper money meant the money literally could travel further and were a lot safer to those holding them than sacks full of gold coins.
One of the big benefits of travelers checks is that they are easy to cancel and replace. They also often have lower fees than credit card transactions. However, they generally come with higher exchange rates. Of course, to avoid carrying large amounts of cash, it also means converting them regularly, not always easy when faced with foreign bank opening times and late night cash shortages.
Plastic is a lot more convenient than cash. So no carrying large amounts of money around and, in most places, Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted. They are also great for larger purchases. Often they will have some form of insurance on them too. However, the downside of credit cards is that they often incur multiple transaction fees and they are a target for skimming and cloning in less well-regulated parts of the world.
If you are using a credit card abroad, do inform the bank. Security checks usually mean that when a card is used abroad, it can flag up on the bank’s security system and they might freeze the card used.
Transferring money in foreign currency has advanced in leaps and bounds since online banking arrived in 1999. Some online retailers do it better than others. Online casinos, for instance, have been a leader in this kind of cashless technology for a while now. Digital transfer on casino sites such as CanadaCasino.net have lead the way in developing efficient ways of depositing money and accessing safe payment methods. From bank accounts, credit and debit cards, eWallets can take care of digital transactions like PayPal, Skrill and Neteller for use on those sites anywhere in the world. The same advanced technology used by online casinos has been adopted by other forms of cashless travel money seen in the growth of currency cards.
Prepaid currency cards
These prepaid cards are highly flexible alternatives to credit and debit cards. They are widely accepted, don’t incur transaction fees and can be topped up online. They also come with a certain amount of fraud protection as they are not directly linked to your bank account. In fact, they use the same kind of transfer technology used by PayPal. They can be a massive budgeting aid too, not allowing overspending by not having an open-ended credit facility.
Today money is valuable, but only because everyone knows that it will be accepted as payment, but it wasn’t always this way. Traveling with an adequate source of exchangeable money has come a long way. Wherever you find yourself in the world you should always have a safe handle on your money. Having a wallet bulging with cash, like hauling a shipful of gold, can always make you a target for theft (or pirates).