Before we left, I wrote of the issues surrounding money, and specifically the two cards we would use to get our money out at ATMs. Over 3 months in, and we’ve found that FairFX has worked out the cheapest of the 2 so far, with overall lower costs to withdraw cash, and therefore this is the card we’ve put most of our money through.
I still take out at least 1 transaction with Caxton FX as well, just to compare the two in all countries, as you never know!!
The standout budgeting guide however, has been Trail Wallet (available as an app for iPad and iPhone for £2.49). An app built by a couple who have travelled and it shows. The app is really simple to use and very adaptable.
We simply add in everything we spend, day by day, and this allows us to keep on top of our daily, and overall spend.
We can separate our trips as well, so it’s easy to see our “cost of living” in each country.
To be honest, it’s so good that I’d use it at home as an easy way to cross-reference bank statements with actual spending etc.
Some tips from the countries we’ve been to so far;
– Indian ATMs will only let you withdraw R10,000 (£100) per transaction, so it’s worth arriving there with more cash than you’d bring as an initial float elsewhere. It was possible to spend on card in most places, but naturally, fees would be charged at the POS.
– Thai ATMs charge 150Baht (£3) per withdrawal for foreign cards, so it’s best to withdraw a larger amount here than you would otherwise. We haven’t tried yet, but spending on card could potentially work out cheaper as well.
– Sri Lankan ATMs were pretty normal, and no fees were charged by most places. A couple of remote ATMs added a fee, but often this was less than R200 (£1).
– ATMs in Laos will charge 20,000 Kip (£1.50) per transaction, and you’re limited to 1million Kip per withdrawal, roughly £70. So far, Laos is the most expensive place to actually get hold of your own cash.
So far, we’re under budget, so we might even return to the UK with enough money to get back home without hitch hiking!!