Shiny Gold Dollars

This week I had a delayed reaction lightbulb moment where I realised we were ploughing through September. And I realised that this time next month? I'll be travelling around Europe. In fact, I'll have already been gone for about a week - which means I'm probably somewhere in Barcelona or heading towards Nice and the French Riviera.

This year has gone by in a big old rush. I clearly remember sitting at home with Jase on New Years Day, figuring out where we could go and how we should get home at the end of the year. It was so hard to plan back then, because it was too early for flights and for cheap travel deals, so I concentrated on other things throughout the year.

I got busy with wedding planning during my April trip home to Sydney.
I handed in my notice at work and finished up at my job.
Then it was focus, focus, focus on the health and exercise as I became bffs with my local gym.
Then came summer, with its constant stream of visitors.
My little brother and his girlfriend have come and gone, and I miss them already!
The in-laws have also come and gone, on several different occasions.

The boy's dad has left for home now, but his Mum will be back with us again in another week, before heading home for good. Soon after that, two of my favourite girls from Sydney will arrive - and then I'll be gone too.

Say what? Where has the time gone? I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO, omgz.

After putting on my London and Paris tour-guide hat last this week, I came home completely exhausted. Travelling is hard work, you know. I can't even imagine how I'm going to feel after a month in Europe, followed by a month in the US/Canada. I'm not complaining {please don't hurl rotten fruits at me} but I'm just being realistic about getting mentally prepared for being on the road again for such a long period of time.

So I'm a forward planner, we all know that. I have a whole stack of items on my to-do list, which I'm sure you'll hear more about soon. Getting organised for me means sorting out things weeks in advance, if possible. My next focus? Working out how I'm going to manage my money while I'm travelling. These days, banks offer all sorts of fancy money cards that you can load up and use just like a credit card while you're away - but I want to steer clear of this, as we'll not be returning to the UK and I don't want to get stuck with a card I can't use.

I'm thinking I'll probably stick to just using my current credit cards {if I need them} and making sure I carry a heap of Euros & Canadian/US dollars with me. In fact, since I'll be meeting up with Jase in Florida (he flies over there from London a few days before I do) I think I'll let him be in charge of the North American currency until I arrive, and I'll just stick to the European currency myself. I'm not a huge fan of carrying cash around with me, but I have an assortment of hidey holes in my suitcases and carry-on luggage that will get me through.

I totally intend to tuck a little hunk of cash away while I travel - or possibly even spreading little amounts out in my random bags. It's partially so that I know I always have a back-up, but it's mostly because finding a little windfall towards the end of a long trip is fabulous & means I'll have more {well, the same amount really} of my own money to spend! Sometimes my backwards logic astounds me, but hey! Works for me.

How do you manage your money while you're travelling in long stints?

12 Comments • Labels:  


Karen said...

I honestly try to have as little cash on me as possible. I have my debit card and credit card and rely on that. I would just hate to lose a lot of cash if I was a victim of a pickpocket or other thief. I usually just get between $50-100 in local currency before the trip, and then get the rest from the ATM as I need it. I always get receipts for the money I withdraw, that way I know how much I've spent. I also keep the receipts when I pay with my credit card.
When I was in Prague with my mom, we brought most of the money we spent in cash (my mom handles this differently than I do). We would each have some of it, and leave the rest in the hotel safe, for security reasons. I am just not comfortable at all having a lot of cash on me. I also use one of these for valuables like money, ID, credit cards, and only keep some change in my pocket (I don't use a wallet when on vacation). Maybe it's a little overly careful but on the upside, I've never had anything stolen, and not having a wallet really frees you from having to worry about it getting stolen.

Nathan Pralle said...

The only "long stint" I ever go on is trips to Oz, and there, I only convert maybe $100 to AUD when I get into the country. The rest I pull out at whatever ATM I can find, as they all take my bank card, no issue.

One big thing I noticed is that money exchanges don't like switching coins. I returned to the States last trip with about $50AUD in $1 and $2 coins and couldn't change them. We dropped them in a box and mailed them to my MIL as a gift. :P~

Mary (A Merry Life) said...

When I'm traveling for a long time I just keep my money in a bank account and then withdraw $100 or so at a time. I generally never keep much cash on me because cards are safer if lost or stolen and pretty much most places take them.

Last comment is right... money exchange places won't bother with any coins, even if you've got hundreds. They suck. So spend it if you have it.

Britt said...

When we went to Costa Rica, I called my Visa company and told them my travel dates and locations. Then they wouldn't freeze my card while travelling abroad. We also carried about $500 in US cash to spend when we couldn't use our credit cards.

You'll be fine with carrying cash I think. Again - I'm so excited for your trip!! That picture has me drooling for some Europe time!

Fuzzy Cert said...

This time around I think I'm going to opt for the cash option, too. The card served it's purpose last year in that 'no one knows what you're travelling with' way.. which is what I wanted... but this time around, it's different because there is Euro, Pound and Swedish Franc to worry about.

Janice said...

Hey Aly, we are traveling to USA in December and we've purchased a cash passport and loaded it up with US $$. It works like an ATM card and can also be used as EFTPOS. Plus we'll also have a credit card for back up or emergencies. I'm sure we'll also carry some cash but probably not a whole heap. Have you used the cash passport before? What did you think?

PS: Where in America are you traveling to?

Emily Jane said...

I've never been gone for a "long stint", but whenever I go for a few weeks I usually take a credit card - I feel uncomfortable carrying a big amount of cash on me personally.

It's all coming up so fast!! :D

Hilary said...

I have never been away long, and I so admire you for your upcoming travel! But, regardless of the length of my stay, I always have cash on me....

steph anne said...

Wow, I've never really thought about it since I haven't gone out of the country (other than Canada & Mexico) and haven't really gone on a long vacation either. Do let me know what you learn so I'm aware of what to expect when I do SOME DAY. :) I'm so excited for you two!

Kelly Loy Gilbert said...

Oh wow--I'm soo jealous! That sounds so amazing, and I can't wait to hear more about it!

I usually try to have no more than the equivalent of about 100 USD on me ... and my credit card, fortunately, didn't have many fees for international transactions so I just used that when I traveled.

P.S. Thanks for sharing about your mom's panic attacks! It was interesting to hear about it from a kid's perspective.

terra said...

I've never gone on such a long stint before - only a week here and there and my travel outside of the US is very limited. Usually, I've just used credit/ATM cards wherever I've gone as I don't really like traveling with large amounts of cash.

Chantel said...

Great Post Aly! I love that you write about this stuff. You being so super organised helps me think of what I need to organise for my travels! As you know I'm yet to go OS. I can understand your hesitance of carrying too much cash. It'd play on my mind too I reckon.

Your hidey hole system sounds good too. I like backward logic. Works for me! LOL ;-)

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