Traveling with Money

Remember last week when I told you about how we are oh so close to getting our money into a good place? Well, one of the disadvantages of having a credit history like ours is that you don’t always have cards to use when you need them–like when you travel.

Usually, you need to have a card in your name in order to book a hotel room or rent a car. Pretty tough to do if you don’t have one–yup, I’ve been there. Or what if there is a great flight deal that you don’t want to pass up, but you don’t have just enough money in the bank to pay? You either lose it or pray you don’t go red.

And then, there is the issue of having money on hand without your bank being flagged that there are transactions outside the state/country (and a hold put on your account, eek!). When I went to France, I was all about getting traveler’s checks (which worked well); however, that was 10 years ago and the one and only time I traveled with them. Does anyone even still use these? This past trip, we traveled with a bunch of cash (which made me incredibly nervous).

And then, there is budgeting while traveling. How do you make sure you are staying within your budget? Well, one thing that I have never done, but am considering for my next trip, is purchasing a prepaid card from a place like Green Dot or here. You can use cards like this anywhere, and they can be purchased at grocery/drugstores. To me, it’s like a traveler’s check turned modern. (And, Green Dot even specifically calls out that “You can’t get into trouble by spending too much!” and that “your money is protected if your Personalized Card is lost or stolen.”–I like that reassurance!) (Visa also has an option where you can use these cards to book hotels and rent cars–how great!)

Another thing I worry about when traveling with money is losing my cash–hey, it’s happened! I don’t carry cash on a normal basis (too hard to track), so I am not used to thinking about what pocket might have had a $20 bill in it or where I dropped it when fumbling for my phone or keys or if it was in a piece of lost luggage. (Man, I worry a lot!) Why I don’t worry about losing my debit is beyond me, but it just never crosses my mind.

What do you think about traveling and money? Do you have worries or budget traps, or are you a money travel expert?