Money Planning Tips for First Time travelers

May 16, 2019

by Thanara Zancanaro

Here’s one thing you should always have in mind when planning a trip: money. That means you need to plan how much you’re going to spend and know the paying methods that will be available for you in your destination. Some questions you need to answer: What’s the currency of the country? Do I need to convert my money? What is the currency conversion? Where can I find the nearest ATM? Does the hotel accept credit or debit cards? What is the cost of the tickets to the attractions that I want to go? How much my bank charges for international transactions?

All these questions will help you define how much money you will need (there are some websites that can help you plan how much you will need for food and essentials) and how much money you should bring with you in cash.


How much cash you will take with you depends on how you answered those questions and how much you feel comfortable taking with you. I think it’s a good idea to take some amount in cash, especially in the arrival you will need to take a bus, a train, or a taxi and you will need cash (it will be easier if you have smaller bills); other “pro-cash” is the emergencies, you never know what may happen, and if your card will work during the entire trip. If you need to buy the currency make sure to do some research first, some places charge you with taxes and fees and the airport is usually the most expensive place to buy other currency.

Credit or Debit Cards

Here is very important that you know all your bank’s fees, that really depends on the bank and the type of your bank account and cards. Usually, they charge the currency conversion, taxes and a fee, and this may be different for credit and debit card. So, before you go make sure you have all the information to not be surprised when you get back. One important thing is to make sure you let your bank know that you will be using the card abroad, some banks can block your card for security reasons if you don’t.

ATM Withdrawals

Most of the debit card allows you to withdraw cash abroad, again how much this will cost you depends on your bank. Most important here is to make sure that you can withdraw cash with your card, how much the bank will charge you and if there is an ATM machine near to the place you will be staying at. If you are doing some backpacking, for instance, or traveling to a remote island or mountain you may need to be prepared to not find an ATM for some days on your trip.

Security Tips

Regardless of how you choose to take your money, make sure you have it in a secure location and keep the small bills handy. You can also divvy your money into different spots so if you get robbed they won’t take all your money. I always take with me a money belt, they are great to avoid the pickpockets. In general, you need to be aware and careful, with just one look people will know that you are a tourist and can try to take advantage of you, be careful with your cash and credit card, if you need to withdraw money, choose a busy location preferably with some security guards nearby, like a shopping mall.

Good luck and be safe out there!

Thanara Zancanaro

By Thanara Zancanaro

Hello there! My name is Thanara and I’m from Porto Alegre, south Brazil, but I'm currently living in Panama City, Central America. I have always love to travel and exploring new places and cultures, I believe that travel has the power to open your mind. Mochile-se started from a desire to share my experiences and help other travelers out there!


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