How much cash should you bring with you on an international trip

You have picked a destination, booked a ticket, and packed your bag, but there’s one more thing: how much cash do you need? Often, people make travel plans and they only budget for pre-set costs like flights and hotels. However, you will need to have enough cash to explore your travel destinations properly, and to deal with any unforeseen circumstances. In this guide, we discuss some tips that can help you decide how much you should take with you when traveling internationally. 

First, Make a Budget For Everything 

It’s best to budget ahead before you get to your destination. For instance, people are advised to calculate a daily budget of $50- $100. That is $50-100 multiplied by every day you intend to spend at your destination. However, this is just a general budget and may vary depending on your travel destination and personal preferences. 

A better way to set a budget for your international travel is by listing out the things or activities you will need money for. What type of expenses will you be paying for (i.e., food, transport, tours, souvenirs)? Also, is there some purchase you want to make while on vacation? Maybe jewelry, artwork, or a rug? Research the average cost of things you’ll need to pay for and add them to your total expenses. 

Know Your Destination 

Of course you know your destination, but knowing is deeper than just browsing travel itineraries and checking out main attractions. Knowing your destination is important because it helps you set a realistic budget and understand how people deal with transactions. For instance, you will need more cash if you are traveling to locations with a high cost of living than a remote destination. Also, you may not need to carry a lot of cash if you go to a destination that widely accepts card payments. 

Consider Your Credit Card Options

In the United States, bank cards are very popular for all transactions, including transportation and groceries. This is the same for many other first world countries. That means you don’t necessarily have to bring a lot of cash when coming to destinations that accept cards.

However, this is not always the case in some destinations. Some countries like Sri Lanka and Mexico still prefer cash, so you can only go so far without money in local currency. Generally, if you are traveling to less developed countries or small towns, you need to have cash with you.

So, find out if card payment is widely accepted at your travel destination. The amount of cash you should bring will depend on this. 

Find Out The Type of Cards That Work

When traveling to a country that accepts cards, you also need to know if your specific card works for foreign transactions and if there are any fees involved. For example, American Express is not popular in many countries, so you may need to hold some cash if that’s your only card. Use your credit card without hesitation whenever possible but better still, use a card that waives transaction fees.

Know When and Where to Exchange Money

The US dollar is accepted in about 27 countries, but it isn’t popular in many other countries. What does this mean?

It means that, if you are going on an international trip to a destination where the US dollar isn’t accepted, you need to exchange currencies. You will need to determine how much you need to exchange and where you can do that. Do you exchange currency when you reach the destination, or do you exchange before departure? 

Exchanging foreign currency once you reach your destination is the best option. Most countries have local currency exchangers at airports to help people exchange easily. However, sometimes, exchangers charge huge fees and offer bad rates, so be careful with this.

Another option is getting the local currency for your destination before you travel. This is because it’s not always convenient to start looking for a bank or agent that offers a reasonable rate upon your arrival. Or, you could exchange a small amount at home to last you a day or two and exchange the rest at your destination. 

Know the Cash Limit

So, you are traveling with cash and maybe even exchanged to the local currency of your destination. But is there a cash limit to carry? The answer is yes. International flights have a cash limit of $10,000. If you have more than that, you will have to declare your cash and fill out some customs forms to prove that the money is legit. 

At the same time, some countries like Thailand have minimum currency requirements, so you may have a problem if you don’t bring enough money with you. Thai Law requires international travelers to have a minimum of 10,000 Baht ($300) per person and 20,000 Baht per family ($600) as an effort to put a stop to ‘begpacking.’ Generally, it’s best to travel with moderate cash, especially when going to countries where you can use your cards. 

Don’t Exchange Too Much Cash

Your trip is ending, and you have a lot of cash in the foreign currency; what do you do? Well, you could buy some souvenirs at the airport or even save the money for future trips. Or, you could exchange just enough cash to last your trip, so you don’t have too much extra cash in a foreign currency.

Safety Tips for Traveling with Cash

Traveling with cash as a tourist isn’t the safest option. It can make you vulnerable to pickpockets. Here are some safety tips for traveling with cash:

  • Use a Money Belt

Using a money belt is a great way to keep your cash and other items like your phone close to you. You wrap the bag around your torso like a belt making it difficult for anyone to steal it. 

  • Split the Money

It’s a good idea to keep your cash in different places instead of putting it in one place. Also, consider getting a secondary wallet to store small bills you can use for basic expenses like food and transport. This way, you won’t always have to open your money belt to take out cash. Also, if traveling with someone, you can split up your money. 

  • Be Attentive

Don’t let your guard down while on vacation, especially when you are out on the streets and have cash on you. 

While you’re making travel plans, it’s best to decide how much cash you’ll need. Can you rely on your bank cards? Do you need money in the local currency? Doing a  little research about your destination will help you plan well and determine how much cash you should hold. Also, keep your cash safe and always hold some foreign currency even if you plan to use cards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s