Hello travellers! Hope you are having a fantastic day. Chances are if you clicked on this post, you are looking for a backpackers guide to money. Or some valuable tips and tricks regarding money and documents for your upcoming adventure. Well, you came to the right place! One question we get asked frequently is in regards to how we store our money and what documents are needed prior to leaving on a world trip.… enjoy!
A BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO MONEY
DOCUMENTS TO BRING
Copy of Your Passport
Before you go, be sure to make about 5-10 colour copies of your passport and bring them with you in a folder. TIP: I like to hide copies of mine in different parts of my backpack and day pack that way if one goes missing, I will always have backup!
Most countries you visit require a visa. Visas on arrival are easy, however they do require a passport photo. Prior to leaving, be sure to make roughly 20 colour copies, on photo paper, of your passport photo to have on hand. Some countries even require 2 photos per application, so the more you can get the better!
Always, always, always have your vaccination card and history on you. Prior to leaving, I spoke to my doctor who printed out my entire vaccine history which I always carry on hand in my travel folder.
Travel insurance is that necessary evil. You don’t want to pay for it, but given an emergency overseas, you’ll be glad you have it. Bring a copy of your insurance card, and policy with you and have it in case an emergency arises.
Bring your state, or local ID with you. I brought my California drivers licence and George brought his UK driving licence.
This one is obvious, you can’t leave the country without it!
Inside our document folder we keep a notecard with all of our emergency contacts. Parents phone numbers & addresses, bank phone numbers, etc in case anything happens.
A BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO MONEY
WHERE TO PUT THE DOCUMENTS
Like I said before, sometimes I take the various copies of my passport and hide them, however for the most part all of these important documents can be found in our document folder. We purchased a folder like this: where we hide and seal all of these things in our backpacks.
We also purchased these clear plastic money holders to hold our money when we are travelling.
George and I purchased this safe pack and it is what we lock away all of our valuables in every day. This safe pack is full proof. You can’t cut into it and we generally lock it to something in the room that can’t be removed. We never walk out with too many valuables on hand! Although it’s not totally bullet proof, it does stop people from walking off with your precious valuables.
A BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO MONEY
Prior to leaving, we both pulled out $300 each and put that in our folder for safe keeping. This is money that we use for visa applications. Note: Most countries in South East Asia require your visa payment to be in USD. So always make sure you have a couple hundred in USD on hand if needed. Some may be thinking that $300 isn’t much, for us it was what we were comfortable taking out!
I brought 2 credit cards with me. Both great for different reasons and both travel related cards. This means I can gain points on the back end after I make purchases to go towards flights, hotels, and food. Also no foreign transaction fees.
George and I both have them. This is what we use to pull out cash at the ATM’s. I carry 1 and George carries 3. When we get to a new country generally we pull out as much cash as we see fit, bearing in mind that each time you use the ATM you acquire a $5 fee. Once we pull out the cash necessary, we divide it in half and store half in a money bag in our document folder, and the other half in one of our money belts. Again, this allows us to keep the money in different places should anything happen.
This is a good tip that George taught me on this trip and the reason why he takes 2 debit cards with him. As you may already know, sometimes ATM’s can be scammed overseas. For that reason George puts the majority of his money on one card, and transfers only the amount needed at that time to his other card to pull out the cash. That way, if someone was to scam the ATM, or steal his details, it wouldn’t matter because there is only a small amount of money on that card. Think of it as a transfer as you go kinda deal!
Account Numbers & Routing Number
It is important to know this number, or write it down and put it somewhere.
Probably our most frequently asked question! How much do things cost on the road? This question is highly dependent on the type of traveller you are. We consider ourselves budget backpackers, who every once in a while like to splurge. Often times we will spend a bit more on accommodation and less on food. Everyones budget is different, however we can provide you with a pretty good guideline for backpacking in South East Asia (keep in mind these numbers are different for Europe, America and South America!!!) Generally speaking to do South East Asia comfortably, we estimate that all things included… flights, transportation, hotels, food, and activities should cost you $1,000 per person, per month.
How we budget
Prior to arriving to the country we visit we do a bit of research. If we do a google search for the ‘average cost per day for backpackers,’ in that given country. We then go to google sheets and create a formula. We times the cost per day by the number of days we are planning to visit. From there we add in an estimate cost of flights/transport to getting to that country. After, we divide that total number by the days we plan on being there and use that number as our base! We try to not exceed this number in each place!
We hope this blog on a backpackers guide to money was helpful for you as you prepare for your next trip!
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Monica Sharma says
This is a very important article that deals with money and documents related stuff, it is very important to make a proper list of documents and budget when traveling Documents play the most vital role in foreign countries as they state your identity.
I’m looking for a good travel credit card. Which two travel credit cards do you use?
George Tyson says
Hi, we actually don’t use travel cards, we use debit and credit cards but we always take several incase they get lost or stolen.