Here are my tips on making sure you have access to your money all through your travels.
- have more than one type of credit card so if one isn't accepted you have the option of using a different one.
- have the bank account that you're using for travelling linked to more than one type of card so you can withdraw cash at ATMs. (For example, I have a regular ATM card and also link an AMEX card to the account.)
- whatever country you're going to visit, take cash in with you in that country's currency, always have some cash to hand. Keep in mind that not everywhere will take credit cards or debit cards. Last year in Dubrovnik the apartment I stayed in required a cash payment, no credit cards.
- when visiting multiple countries with different currencies, I keep them separate in little ziplock bags. Nothing more annoying than trying to separate unknown coins to find the ones you need. (To take the picture above I emptied out, 3 ziplock bags! )
- as well as credit cards, there's now the option of having a card you can preload money in different currencies and use as a debit card. They are also advertised as being able to withdraw cash from ATMs, but personal experience, even in Europe that's not always the case. Very useful to budget with as you know exactly how much money you have to spend.
- Japan This tip is specifically for Japan, not all Japanese banks will allow you to withdraw cash from their ATMs, you need to find special ATMs or a foreign bank, such as Citibank to get cash out. Learnt the hard way as on my first visit was almost stranded with no access to cash!
- Another thing to be aware, the keypad on Japanese ATMs is reversed (the 0 is at the top, not the 1) make sure you know your PIN and not rely on muscle memory the way I did and couldn't remember the actual order of the numbers when they were in different places to what I was used to! I ended up being locked out of my account.
- Finally make sure you know all the contact numbers for your cards incase you need to cancel them due to theft. Bad enough you had them stolen, you don't also want a huge bill for the holiday someone else is having at your expense!