Photo credit: Erica Simone Photography
When we’re at home, at our bank address that is, we can take for granted how easy it is to make everyday transactions, changes, or replace a demagnetized card.
When we’re traveling it’s sometimes VERY difficult to take care of something that would have taken no time back at home.
Being stuck in the middle of nowhere with the equivalent of $3.25 in Chinese Yuan is not a pleasant thought.
Let us run you through a few easily avoidable scenarios and their solutions so you can avoid obnoxious money issues while traveling:
I lost my bank card, had it stolen, or worst, my bank card is demagnetized and I have no access to my money!! WTF?!?!!?
- Have multiple bank accounts, this is especially important if you’re traveling alone and don’t have a significant other or friends to bail you out. Avoid bank fees by having a free bank account. You won’t be using your secondary bank account everyday, so you don’t need any fancy bells and whistles like no international ATM fees. Keep a decent amount of money (A grand don’t come for free, but it can get you out of most situations) and only use it in case of emergency. Replace it as soon as it’s spent.Having a credit card with you can have a similar effect, but will probably cost you a lot more in cash advance fees. Try to keep your credit card only for point purchases or purchases that you can’t make with your bank card.
- Have the contact information for someone trustworthy back at home that can receive mail for you should the necessity arise.
- Don’t keep your bank cards together, that kills two birds with one stone, first, you’re less likely to have them both stolen at the same time, second, you’re less likely to have them both demagnetized at the same time.
- Always make sure you put your bank card back in your wallet when you’ve finished your transaction.
- Keep fresh unfolded, unwrinkled, US dollars (or Euros, depending on your location) on you for emergencies, long enough to get you through the waiting period for getting a new card sent to you in your part of the world. The more remote the location the longer your card will take, but the cheaper the cost of living, and vice-versa… $500 should get you comfortably out of any situation, but you can probably make do just fine with $250… time to discover the pleasures of street food and dorm rooms!!!
- Write down your banking information in your address book in an encrypted way so you have the phone number of your bank as well as your account number, but someone would not be able to know that it’s your bank information.
- Depending on your bank and location the solution can be quick and painless or long and strenuous. If you’re somewhere with a limited or non-existent mailing service, it can be difficult but not impossible.
- Most of the time you’ll call your bank (the number is usually on the bank of your bank card, so if you lost it and you didn’t write it down you’re shit out of luck, hopefully you have access to the internet.) So, call your bank, tell them you need a new card rushed to you ASAP at your current address. If you’re like me and you don’t have a current address and the card needs to be sent to a PO box, your bank won’t like that, so have it sent home where someone can sign for it and then forwarded to your PO-box.
- Make sure that you can still sign in to your online banking if they cancel your old card, or to give you another solution if you can’t.
- This is much easier to do if you informed your bank ahead of time that you were traveling for an extended period of time, and given them the name and address of your emergency contact, and made sure they actually put all that info on file. Banks don’t like new information, it’s hard to process and doesn’t fit into their pre-recorded scenarios. The less curve balls you throw at them the less friction you will run into.
- Hopefully you still have your crisp emergency stash… ration it wisely.