Money money money money money. Everyone is talking about it, how to save enough, how to make it using your blog, how to make it last when you’re on the road. It is said that money makes the world go round, well more accurately in the case of backpackers money makes you go around the world. Well maybe ‘makes’ is the wrong word there, but you know what I mean, it allows you to travel the globe … unless you have a sponsored or are really good at blagging freebie *flutters eyelashes.
So money, cash, wonga (I hate that word). Its seriously important right!? You need it, a fair bit of it if you’re on a long term trip, so what do you do to keep it safe but at the same time easily accessible? You research of course and make sure you have an account(s) and the cards that allows the following …
1. Notice unusual behaviour of your account.
I read a very scary book recently called Dark Market, it’s all about hackers and skimmers who basically tea leaf (thief) and plunder other peoples accounts using computer code and hacking hardware. An interesting read, but scary as hell. The book made it sound dead easy for someone to be able to skim your bank card at any cash point and then later take all your monies. If the worst does happen and unusual withdrawals start taking place on your account you want your bank to have your back on the matter.
A word to the wise – it’s worth letting your bank know when you’re off on your travels, and where. If your card gets skimmed and the details sold to someone on another continent to you starts a spending spree, your bank should be able to recognise that you can’t be in two places at once and that something funny is going on.
2. Gives you online access
Pretty standard, but being able to check your accounts online is a must. You may want to keep your money spread out of several accounts, one a high earner maybe like an ISA, and only transfer it to your current account once you’re running low. Every little bit of interest earned helps! Yes its hassle remembering all the passwords, but as well as giving access to your banking information it also offers an easy way to communicate with your bank via messaging and email services – cheaper than calling them.
3. Contact numbers to real people
I know I know, I just said contact by the internet would be good, but what if you have no internet connection? What if it’s a real EMERGENCY and you need to speak to a real live human being immediately no matter the cost? Pick a bank account that gives you, ideally free phone, contact numbers to actual human beings. None of this automated answering machine rubbish.
4. A large number of withdrawal points
Nothing worse than sticking your card in a machine to find it cant be be read by the ATM. When in Vienna I met a group of 4 Aussie guys who between them had about 100 euro and not one of their cards worked in the local ATMs, we went out and they below the 100 euro of booze (who was I to stop them?). I heard they had an interesting time paying for the rest of their journey through Vienna. Research ahead of time that there will be plenty of places you can take out money.
5. FREE withdrawals
You don’t want to be walking around carrying your life savings in your pocket, you want enough to get by and the rest stored safely in your account. I saved a small fortune by signing up to an account that gave me free withdrawals whilst backpacking around Oz. I should really take my own advice, but my current account charges me roughly £1 a withdrawal. A withdrawal a day and my funds would have soon diminished.
So there you ave it, a quick and practical guide to picking your backpacker bank account. You basically want it as safe from other people as possible, but readily accessible to you. If you can find an account that gives you that security, and allows you to draw at cash at no extra charge you’re onto a winner!
If you can think of anything I’ve missed just leave a comment people or send me an email, I’ll update this post accordingly. Happy and safe travels.