Top 5 ways to Avoid Obnoxious Money Issues While Traveling

23 July, 2013

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:

  1. Lost Bank Card
  2. Out Of Budget
  3. Robbed and Broke
  4. Post Trip Credit Card Debt
  5. Machine Ate My Card



With an eclectic background in neuroscience, research, journalism, and design, it’s safe to say Jade’s still a little bit confused as to what she wants to be if and when she grows up.


    • Comment by JadeAdele

      JadeAdele Reply 23 July, 2013 at 19:42

      Thanks Pedro, we’re glad you’re on the same page :)

  1. Comment by Zara @ Backpack ME

    Zara @ Backpack ME Reply 29 December, 2013 at 06:10

    Oh boy.. I can’t understand people who travel on credit. I know at least a couple of backpackers who first spend on travel and then go to work for several months to pay the bill. Wouldn’t it make more sense to do it the other way around? I’d enjoy my travels way more knowing I’m using my hard earn money, without having to worry about what comes up next!..
    Good tips! :)
    Zara @ Backpack ME recently posted…Top 13 Travel Experiences of 2013My Profile

    • Comment by JadeAdele

      JadeAdele Reply 29 December, 2013 at 09:11

      Right there with you Zara! But to each their own. It’s hard for some people to save up sometimes, and I can understand how the motivation of paying off debt could get one to buckle down more effectively than the more abstract goal of saving.

  2. Comment by John Stub

    John Stub Reply 12 January, 2014 at 13:42

    Learned this lesson while traveling with a student group. The bank ATM ate a student’s Visa card. It was Sunday and we were just visiting for the day.
    Lesson 1: If possible, only use the bank ATM while the bank is open.
    Lesson 2: If you can locate a commercial bank you can draw money off your Visa card without using the machine.
    Lesson 3: On short trips I overpay my Visa before leaving and use that card as a Debit card while away.

      • Comment by John Stub

        John Stub Reply 14 January, 2014 at 14:09

        Hello Jade,
        Thanks for the comment.
        We were in Siena on a Sunday but it was close to the end of the trip so I just loaned money to the student. Upsetting, but not a disaster. Nonetheless it was a lesson regarding weekend travel that was never forgotten.
        I’m a high school teacher in Nova Scotia. Our European trip is intended to introduce students to the roots of our culture (London, Paris, Florence and Rome) and to simply give them the confidence to travel independently. Many do.
        On Twitter @papapigeon (Our tours are called Pigeon Tours)

        • Comment by JadeAdele

          JadeAdele Reply 15 January, 2014 at 10:26

          That’s really cool John! I didn’t know Nova Scotia had such a program! Another reason to add to the list of things I love about my adoptive country!

          I’ll look into it more!
          JadeAdele recently posted…Trouble at the BorderMy Profile

  3. Comment by JeanBean

    JeanBean Reply 19 January, 2014 at 06:53

    Great article.

    My first trip to Japan, with school they told us to only take travellers cheques. Near impossible to find somewhere to cash them :(

    We have 1 credit card for limited use. Was great when we decided to leave Paris early for Brussels. We only like to spend what we actually have in our account at the time.
    JeanBean recently posted…Living the latte factor- Saving money or a deposit with the Bank of Guilt?My Profile

    • Comment by JadeAdele

      JadeAdele Reply 22 January, 2014 at 12:37

      Traveler’s cheques, does anyone even use those anymore?!!?

      Having credits cards is great, if you know how to use them well, they definitely can work to your advantage, with points and everything. Unfortunately most people slack in the department and end up paying more in interest than they get back in points.

      I’ve been knows to be guilty of this!

      I’m glad you’re on your game!
      JadeAdele recently posted…Planning a Road Trip in the US, your ULTIMATE resource guideMy Profile

  4. Comment by wesley

    wesley Reply 6 June, 2014 at 13:19

    Good solid advice and a lot of common sense.
    I was shocked about the first picture.

  5. Comment by Katie Featherstone

    Katie Featherstone Reply 18 October, 2014 at 14:41

    Great advise! Mostly these are things I know I should do, but am often too unorganised to sort out before I leave. …apart from having a spare emergency back-up fund. Usually that is just my travel fund!
    Katie Featherstone recently posted…The high road: Cerro de Pasco and the rock forest. My Profile

  6. Comment by PedroL

    PedroL Reply 19 November, 2014 at 08:51

    This post was very useful! I spend last October in Argentina and in my last week I was in Ushuaia. I didn´t have much money with me but I had my credit card, so I wasn´t that worried… however, once I checked-in in the hostel I was staying they only accepted ‘fresh money’. As a result, I got only 150 pesos (+- 10 euros) for 3 days, so I went to get money from the ATM. It was really hard because apparently in Ushuaia sometimes ATM don´t have money and my card was not accepted in many machines… only on the second day and after 12 AMTs I made it!!!! Now I know that next time I should take two different credit cards… :)
    PedroL recently posted…window #608My Profile

    • Comment by Jade Adele

      Jade Adele Reply 21 November, 2014 at 03:59

      Wow Pedrol! That sounds like a frustrating experience. I’m glad everything turned out alright!

      Also sounds like you had a great trip though!
      Jade Adele recently posted…The Real issue with the term expat.My Profile

  7. Comment by Chris Kyriakides

    Chris Kyriakides Reply 6 June, 2015 at 10:05

    Thank you for the very informative article Jade!
    If I may suggest one rather important point to highlight to your readers would be the following. Be careful of what some travellers may at first hand consider to be “relatively” safe storage options. For example, luggage with regular zippers are not at all safe! These can be easily opened with something as simple as a ballpoint pen and resealed without ones knowledge
    If available I would suggest enquiring with your hotel about the availability of safes in rooms and even safes located at the reception desk. Even if such safes are available, remember that to avoid problems with guests loosing their access code or safe keys, the hotel security or management will typically have spare keys securely locked away. Just to be extra safe ensure that you keep a small, light-weight, tamperproof, lockable container or bag that can be placed inside such a hotel safe. It doesn’t have to be heavy-duty, it only has to serve as a deterrent. ;-)
    I trust the above adds value to you and your readers :-)

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