If you don’t already segment your finances in the manner to be explored in this post, perhaps on account of being a frequent traveller who hasn’t come across any associated problems with current manner through you handle your money on your travels, I can understand how difficult it may be to find the motivation to make the transition. It’s a very important one to make though, because the worst time for you to find out that you could have managed your travel money better is when disaster strikes.
So how should you go about segmenting your finances while travelling?
Your primary banking institution
As much as part of what it means to be a frequent traveller in particular suggests that you want to free yourself from centralised and restrictive establishments such as your primary bank, the reality is that you need to be connected to them in some or other way. Therefore you should identify the bank with which you do most of your banking, such as the one which you have your current account with or the one which holds most of your savings, investments etc.
It’s important to make these distinctions though, because the last thing you want is for some ATM card skimmer to be able to drain your savings account or gain access to the money which you’ve put in the investment pocket of your primary account. That brings us into the actual segmentation in that you should have at least two bank cards, but before we get right into that, it’s important for you to be able to prove that you have access to a primary bank account and to be able to access the funds even if you might have perhaps lost your documents while on the trip abroad.
So what you need to do is notify your bank where you’re going. This will also set into motion other security mechanisms such as preventing your ATM card from being blocked following its triggering of a red flag for having been used in what would register as an “unusual” or “suspicious” location.
Using more than one bank card
Ideally you want to have at least two bank cards, one which serves as a backup should the other one get lost or stolen and the other one to be used as you would normally use it (at POSs, to draw cash, for verification, etc).
Mix up your currency
Don’t carry the biggest denominations of the local currency. Also, try to avoid situations that would have you needing to get back large amounts of money in change. Mix up your use of your money and not just of the currency itself, so that if you lose access then you don’t lose everything at once.
Going as direct as possible
I’ll demonstrate this pointer as an example. If for instance you have money in your PayPal account, if you can pay for whatever you need to pay for using your PayPal balance, e.g. your accommodation, a taxi, etc, then that’s exactly what you should do, because otherwise it becomes a process first having to withdraw the funds to your local bank account and then go through the process of cross-border transactions when withdrawing at an ATM or even paying at a POS.