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We’re in Bali + How to Deal With Money On the Road

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Yesterday I arrived in Bali at around 2pm, after a 12 hour flight and no sleep the night before. My partner and I went on a last minute rush to get everything done: the apartment packed up, the carpet cleaned, saying goodbye to friends and family and getting everything crammed into my backpack.

We made it and it’s glorious.

I literally just got out of a jacuzzi overlooking the rainforest – it was dark so I didn’t take a photo!

Look at the view outside my bedroom:

 

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One of the hardest things I find is dealing with money on the road. I’ve been to over 30 countries, so used over 30 currencies.

To be honest, foreign money kind of feels like monopoly money to me.

I struggle to really understand other currencies, especially if they aren’t a ‘main’ currency I am familiar with, such as USD, GBP or SGD.

After a few years spending Kip, Rupiah, Riel and Crowns, I have a few little tips that help ensure I stay in budget, and understand the currency thoroughly.

1) Use a Currency Convertor Tool
The best approach to exchanging currency prices back into your native currency (to understand how much you’re spending) is with a currency convertor tool. That way, you know there’s nothing wrong with your guesstimates. If you’re buying anything expensive overseas, a miscalculation can be a nightmare. And, depending on where you’re traveling, the locals might just take you for a financial ride all the way to ‘scammed’.

2) Over-Estimate the Cost
At the moment we’re in Bali and 1 USD is around 11,000 Indonesian Rupiah. In my head, I convert it in a 1:10 ratio, so that if I spend 500,000 IDR I will calculate it to be roughly $50 USD when in reality it’s closer to $45. This is my favourite approach because that extra $5 can go towards the exchange rate at the ATMS, the ATM fees for using a foreign card and so on. Of course, using a currency convertor is the BEST approach, but failing that, this works well for me.

3) Never Carry Too Much Cash
I guess how much I’m going to spend for the day, add in a little extra and leave my base amount of cash at home, in a very safe place. This way if I lose my bag, have it stolen or accidentally mysteriously lose some money, I only lose a portion of my money. Today I left home with just over $70 in cash, bought a cell phone sim and credit, a massage, lunch and dinner, snacks and drinks along the way and still came home with over $35.

4) Bring Spare Cards and Carry Them Separately
I have never lost my cards on the road but I know countless people who keep all their cards for the ATM or credit cards in the same place. If that wallet, purse or whatever gets stolen with ALL of your ONLY cards, you’re in a bit of a trouble. I have 2 credit cards 1, debit card, 1 standard ATM card and a travel card. I keep cards in different, secure places throughout my luggage so if one goes missing, I’m still fine.

Have you done much travel before? If so, how do you deal with money? Let me know in the comments below!

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