Travel Money and Finance

Scheduling / Budgeting travel

Preparing a travel budget can be a bit daunting as you have to consider daily expenses, accommodation costs and a vast array of other costs which you will have to cover during your travels. Without careful budgeting and discipline in regarding to your spending habits, you could easily eat through any travel allowance.

A travel budget which addresses the main costs during travel such as accommodation, Flights and also other transportation can be found on my website here. (note it’s available for a small fee).

The budget provides the framework to still have fun on your trip but within the amount you have designated each day. If course there are instances that you may exceed your daily travel budget, but at least you have a figure in mind, where you start to know when you have over spent. More tips on creating a travel budget can be found here:

Wikihow – Create a travel budget –


Arranging payment of bills before leaving for overseas travel

Before departing for your trip, you certainly need to have your financial matters at home sorted out. This includes notifying your essential services and utilities of your holiday to allow the change in payment cycle – they can hold back you payment date. You wouldn’t want to come home and find out that your power has been cut off due to several final notices been sent to your residence, whilst you are travelling.

Providers are always understanding of your circumstances, as long as you give them ample notification. If there is the case that the suppliers or bills come in, you can ask your close relatives to look out for bills that come in and arrange for payment to cover these bills (this depends on how close to your relatives you are).

More tips on managing bills whilst you are away can be found here:

Common financial matters when travelling

  • Accommodation taxes and fees (charged by the city)
  • Activity or tour fees
  • Arrival or departure tax (sometimes payable in cash)
  • ATM and/or money transfer fees
  • Attraction fees
  • Car hire or service fees
  • Currency conversion fees (or difference)
  • Excess luggage (if you have more than allowed)
  • Food costs (breakfast, lunch and dinner) – If not included in accommodation
  • Item delivery costs and parcel costs (if making purchases)
  • Laundry fees
  • Local national taxes (Can make refund claims depending on circumstances)
  • Parking fees
  • Passport replacement fee
  • Restaurant service and other additional costs
  • Road toll fees
  • Roaming mobile phone charges
  • Tipping (In tipping countries)
  • Transportation costs
  • Visa country costs (Upon arrival or payable prior)
  • Wifi internet fees (On the road and in accommodation)


Currency exchange

If you are faced with exchanging money overseas, there can be an assortment of providers who are more than happy to assist, difference being the rate they offer. Usually hotels and private providers offer inflated prices, just for the convenience of their location. When travelling overseas, I try to stick to taking out large wads of cash – say in 200 AUD increments.

This saves ATM fees and also easier to keep track of your withdraws from you travel card.. If there is the case that you are leaving the country, Travelex and also banking institutions are good ways to change back your cash. Some may require a minimum amount to be converted back and some charge a small commission fee (which is often expected). Be mindful of the rates they offer and the general market offering rates, so you can make an informed decision.

An exemption to this is interestingly in Italy, where more local providers such as mixed businesses can act as a currency exchange intermediary and offer very good rates. This happened in Positano on the Amalfi coast, where the store owner runs this as a service to tourist, rather than for self gain. I’d say this is only good for travelling in Europe where banks and major exchange providers have poor rates.

More useful information can be found on the ‘Exchanging your money abroad’ article by Fodors here:


Currencies around the world

If you are embarking on a round the world trip or to a region where currencies vary from country to country (e.g. Many European nations share the Euro currency), it can become confusing. It’s useful to families yourself with the denominations of the currencies that affect you and also what they look like. A good reference, detailing the various currently used currencies can be found here:

List of circulating currencies (Wikipedia) –

– Europe –

Currency (Most traded currencies)- Wikipedia Page

Major traded currencies:

Australian – Dollar –
Canadian – Dollar –

Europe (Selected Countries – as of July 2015) – Euro –

Preceding National currencies of the Euro:
Austria -Austrian schilling ATS
Belgium – Belgian franc BEF
Cyprus – Cypriot pound CYP
Germany – German mark DEM
Estonia – Estonian kroon EEK
Spain – Spanish peseta ESP
Finland – Finnish markka FIM
France – French franc FRF
Greece – Greek drachma GRD
Republic of Ireland – Irish pound IEP
Italy – Italian lira ITL
Lithuania – Lithuanian litas LTL
Luxembourg – Luxembourgish franc LUF
Latvia – Latvian lats LVL
Monaco – Monégasque franc MCF
Malta – Maltese lira MTL
Netherlands – Dutch guilder NLG
Portugal – Portuguese escudo PTE
Slovenia – Slovenian tolar SIT
Slovakia – Slovak koruna SKK
San Marino – Sammarinese lira SML
Vatican City – Vatican lira VAL

Japanese – Yen –
New Zealand – Dollar –
Swiss – Franc –
United kingdom – Pound –
United States – Dollar –

Some countries use two currencies interchangeably, organised by the hierarchy of value. Using the example of Cambodia, the national currency ‘Riel’ is sued for smaller purchases (say 3 dollars and less); while for larger amounts the country uses the US dollar. What can become confusing is that if you make a purchase and the change is small, then the vendor may give you back change in Cambodian Riel. In this instance it’s always good to have a healthy mix at both currencies. The country has pegged the 4,000 riel to equal one US dollar (accurate as of November 2013). Keep this in mind, so that vendors may not intentionally or accidently short change you. This defacto use of currency occurs in other nations too, so it always pays to be savvy and know what to expect.

More information about defacto currency use can be found here: De facto currency (Wikipedia) –

Worldwide Currency Mints/ Reserve banks

Wikipedia – List of worldwide currency mints –

Notable Mints –
Australia – Reserve bank –
– Note printing Australia –
Austria –
Canada –
France –
Germany –
Italy –
Japan –
New Zealand –
Spain –
Switzerland –
United Kingdom –
United States –
Vatican City –

Worldwide banking and finance institutions

Wikipedia (Lists of banks by country) –

Travel Card Using

Having a travel card is great, but not so great if you run out of money or can’t find an ATM. In Thailand I found myself in Bangkok with only 6 dollars in my bank account, yet still with two days left. The issue I found myself was that I could transfer money to my travel card but the bank processing would take two to three working days (too late). Thankfully my travel companion kindly lent me money, but you may not be so lucky. What I should have done and is generally advisable is to monitor your travel card balance daily. This can be done via your providers’ online website, where it details where you have taken money out or made purchases.

As mentioned before its best to take out chunks of money (eg 200 AUD) at a time. This was if you are about to take out your next chunk of money and realise your running low, you can streaming more money into the travel card, with ample time for it to come through. Always ensure that you money to last 4 working days on your card, to prevent any shortcomings.

To complement the travel card, you can also have a credit card as a backup fail safe measure. Often hotels need a credit card to act as a surety or bond for your stay, in case of damage or miscellaneous costs not included in the costs of your stay. I recommend that you have the travel card and also credit card. If you run out of money on your travel card or if you need to make a large purchase (such as paying for a flight in a situation where you missed your flight), then the credit card can be a life saver. From travels, it seems that Visa and American express are the way to go in terms of credit card providers and the added services they have to offer. The benefits can include emergency assistance, medical arrangements and other valuable assistance which you may usually have to arrange yourself.

World ATM Access

Where cash is necessary as ATMs are not available or card transcation machines not available.


Carrying money

As a rule of thumb, when travelling around the world, it’s best to only have with you the money you need for the day and if in a reasonably safer city then travel card (and if in a crime prone region, best to only have cash). Have the cash and also travel card in skin coloured money pouched tied around your abdomen area, under your clothing. This is a discreet way to keep your cash safe but still have access to it when you need.

If you take out large chunks of cash (like it’s advised) then after you do ideally head straight back to your accommodation and place the cash not needed for the day in the secure safe.

More tips and tricks on how to be safe and savvy carrying money overseas can be found here:


World economic stability and risk

Economy security (nations with bad economic stability or currency) eg Greece or Zimbabwe
Cambodia uses defacto currency – us currency used widely.
– Hot to prevent drama
– Credit card use
– Take extra cash
– Travel insurance coverage?

Taxation Systems and tax rates around the world

Includes: Goods and services tax around the world

Wikipedia – Corporate haven –
Wikipedia – List of countries by tax rates –
Wikipedia – Offshore bank –
Wikipedia – Offshore financial bank –
Wikipedia – Tax avoidance –
Wikipedia – Tax haven –
– Tax haven lists –

Money fraud and quality

Travellers are more vulnerable to being scammed and also encountering money fraud, due to unfamiliar surroundings and not being savvy with hoe things operate in the country they are in. Therefore it pays to be vigilant and listen to your gut feeling if something or someone doesn’t look right.

Whilst not exactly fraud, taxi drivers can literally take you for a ride in terms of what you pay them. On our travels we realised that whenever we expressed we were from Australia, the taxi drivers or service providers looked at us if we were cash cows for the taking. The same situation and same country, we took the same taxi ride but now with the only difference mentioning that we were from South America (which is of a lower standard of living) – we were speaking Spanish and look like a native which worked in our favour.

The fare was considerably different to the first time. This was a cheeky method on our part, but shows how perceptions can influence the price you may pay on your travels. Conversely in our accommodation, we leveraged the fact that we were from Australia with the prospect of a glowing review to encourage the hotel staff to give us a room upgrade.

In regards to actual cash handling, pay close attention to the material of the authentic cash and currency of the nation you are in. Even in Australia, sneaky criminals are making payment or exchanging fraudulent cash with other members of the public. If this can happen in Australia where the bank notes are of a more sophisticated polymer material, then most definitely in other nations where traditional paper based notes are used, this would happen.

Being a recipient of fraudulent cash can not only hurt you financially but if you are unsuspecting and accidentally onward it, the police would definitely ask you some serious questions about your travel movements. It’s best not to put yourself in this situation. If you are given noted money and the note is ripped or doesn’t feel right, you are well within your right to ask for another note.

On the topic of ripped bank notes, in many countries (such as developing nations) where bank-note quality has greater importance, if you attempt to make payment with a ripped or crushed note, then they may refuse acceptance. It’s always best to use a wallet or cash handling product where the notes will be kept reasonably crisp and not damaged. The last thing you want is for instance is a note of 100 AUD value to not be accepted as payment, just because it’s ripped.

Conversely, some cheeky vendors who have been stuck with ripped or crushed notes, often dump these notes to unsuspecting tourists. Don’t be caught in this situation! If you are given a bank-note, before you leave where you are standing or preferably before they give to you, inspect the note and if you see it’s not good, then mention to the vendor that you don’t accept their note – asking for another note. This scenario from experience I found mostly happens in Asia, but even in Western nations a person may think twice.

What’s also interesting is that in Cambodia is that the US one dollar note (if I’m not mistaken) is often rejected. I’m not 100% with my American history, but suspect it may have something to do with the 1 dollar note falling from the sky when the atomic bomb hit Japan during war times. In short, said to have negative connotations, especially noticeable in religion conscious Cambodia.

Overall if you’re savvy and keep alert as to your interactions with others on your travels, then the risk of being involved in scams or money issues can be minimised. More tips and information in this area can be found via the links below:


Money / Budgeting

Budgeting tools
Travel wallet –

Travel Crowdfunding
Embarq (By Air Canada)-

Exchange Rates
FX Rate (Foreign Exchange Rates) –
Oanda (Currency Exchange Rates) –
Oz Forex (International Money transfer) –
Travelex – Currency Converter –

Travel finance cards portals / comparisons / review sites:
Canstar – Travel money card tips and traps –

Mozo – Travel money –
– Best travel cards

Card / Financial Services
28 degrees travel card –
American express (Foreign exchange) –

ANZ – Travel finance services and travel card -

Australia Post – load and Go – Travel Card –
– Login to card account –
– load and go travel card –
– Manage load and go travel card -

Bendigo Bank – Contact –

Citibank – Debit card (International) –
Citibank – Travelling overseas –
Citibank – Travel card services –
Citibank – Current exchange rates –

Citibank – Australia – Travelling overseas –
Citibank – Australia – Online services –

Currency Fair (International Money Transfer – innovative) –

HSBC – Everyday global account (Travel card) –

Master card –

Moneygram –

NAB Travel card (Australia) –

PayPal –
PayPal Me (quick PayPal monies transfer portal) – –

Qantas Cash Travel card –
Travelex –
– Travel Card –
Visa – Travel support portal –
Visa – Travel cards –
Visa travel money –

Visa – Lost cards –
Visa – Global Emergency Contacts –

We exchange – online based currency exchange –

Western Union –

ATM Locators
711 Japan (ATM locator for foreign cards) –
Bendigo Bank ATM Locator –

Citibank – Worldwide – Find ATM –

Citibank ATM Locator –
Citibank – Japan – Find ATM –
Citibank – USA –

Japan Post (ATM locator for foreign cards) –

Mastercard ATM locator – Global –
Mastercard ATM locator – Australia –

Visa – Global ATM locator –


Links last checked : / /2015

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