A while back we wrote a guide about how to carry money safely on the road and we had a lot of fun suggesting that you could do as the ancients did and bury jewels under your skin.
A few years back it made the most sense to hit the road with a wad of traveller’s cheques but the truth is they’ve kinda faded out of fashion now. It’s doubtful you’d even find somewhere to change them. So what’s the best way for the traveler in the 2020’s to carry money on the road? Here are the three best options:
1. If you’re going to be travelling in one country for a while see if you can open a local bank account. It’s often not that hard to do, even if it’s only a post office account. You only need an address where they can post you your bank card, which a couchsurfing host might give you, and then you can transfer money to your new account for low fees with a service like Transferwise. This might seem a bit fiddly but it’s the cheapest option overall.
2. Now that you can find bank machines everywhere that actually connect to global networks, using credit cards is an option (or debit cards) and you can just take out as much money as you need at one time so if you get robbed you won’t lose that much. The only stinger are the bank fees but hey, it beats losing all your savings at once.
3. Find a way to make money as you go along. Instead of carrying money carry something you can sell like packets of incense, bindis or an instrument that can bring in some cash when you play in the street. You should still bring some reserve cash of course and a good money belt is still a decent solution.
Of course you can always just do the hobo thing are hit the road without any money and volunteer, work odd jobs or just trust in the universe to take care of you as you go along. It brings to mind friends of mine who were camped outside a village in Greece and they went i to the market to do some busking and when they came back they found thieves had been through all their belongings – they didn’t find anything worth stealing, however, and so left behind a little pile of cash as a charitable gesture.