Have you ever traveled to an unfamiliar place by yourself?
Well, I have – many times, in fact. However, nothing beats the very first time I went on a short errand trip by myself. I know you probably don’t want to hear it but I’m feeling a bit sadistic so I’ll tell you anyway!
The story starts with me going to an unfamiliar city to do an errand. It was really important and I can’t wait for someone’s schedule to open up and go with me. I needed to have a document processed so I went as soon as I was able to. You see, I know myself all too well that I am completely aware of how much a spendthrift I am. Like, I’m a really impulsive buyer to a point that I will literally buy something that costs over $200 just because I find it cute or adorable – even if there’s no way I see myself using that purchase in the foreseeable future. So for this trip, what I did was leave my money, cards, and everything that could give me an excuse to go out and hoard stuff I don’t need. I brought $300 with me, with the hundred allotted for the back and forth ferry ticket. That basically leaves me with $200 in my pocket.
At the time, it felt like a stellar idea – like, am I a genius or what? But I think you can pretty much guess how everything went downhill at this point. So, I wasn’t aware of the fact that there was a processing a fee I needed to pay to process the documents I wanted. It was $109, if I can recall. The sad thing was I went to a souvenir shop before I even processed the documents, bought a $12 meal, $5 dollar coffee, and a $100 dollars’ worth of novelty items which included cheap plushies, refrigerator magnets, and – wouldn’t you guess – a T-shirt with an “I’ve been to –“ print. I spent $117 out of my $200 thinking that I didn’t have to pay a lot (or anything at all) at the processing center. I had $83 dollars to my name plus a $50 I tucked away for my return trip. My thought process at the time was:
Should I just come back another day or should I pay the $109 fee and look for a way home with just $24 in my pocket?
Of course, I had to choose the latter option because my coming would have been useless otherwise. I said “Oh, I’ll just call someone from home to send me some cash.”
“Mission accomplished” I said. I got what I needed. But soon after it hit me, its 5:30 in the afternoon and no one is picking up the phone. The nearest money transfer agency closes at 6 o’clock. I had no cash, no cards, and my phone was dying. I had $24 to my name, some cheap plushies, a locally made T-shirt, and refrigerator magnets. There is no way I could spend the night in this unknown place. I was like “Oh good grief, what have I done?”
Luckily, this story ended on a happy note. It was 5:45 when a friend texted me “Hey you, you’re such a pain. I just sent you $100 for the ferry ride. Thank me later.” I never forget to thank my lucky stars ever since that day. I got lucky, that’s for sure! But there’s no telling how I’d do the next time.
So in order to prepare for the inevitable, I decided to look for more ways to improve my money-handling during travels. From what I experienced, leaving all my money at home is a no-go. I’d just end up in situations that may be far worse than what I told you about.
I started researching and I found that you can really track your finances when you’ve got a good travel wallet. What do I mean by this? It’s just a wallet, isn’t it?
Well, you’re right. Travel wallets do the same work every other wallet does. However, there are a few good things about them that particularly help you secure and keep important things safe while you’re on the road. There are many travel wallets sold in online and offline markets so I guess the question really isn’t where you can get one but rather what kind should you be getting?
The Ultimate Travel Wallet Guide
Here are a few key features I believe every good travel wallet should have:
A Safe Place for Cards
Yes, have you ever had those card holders that have very shallow and loose card pockets? They’re dangerous. One wrong move and you can drop a credit card or something. Mind you, some shops don’t verify the identity of card bearers anymore. If you have a card, they’ll swipe it. If your credit card happens to fall into the wrong hands and you fail to notice it right away, you’re in for a lot of trouble. A travel wallet with secure card holders is a must-have. You can check out awesome brands at Official Top 5 Review – travel wallets.
Several Money Pockets
It is suggestible that you buy a travel wallet with many paper bill slots. If you use just one slot and you carry a lot of cash, you might end up losing some accidentally. Also, when you use one with several pockets, you’ll be able to budget your finances better. You can separate food money from shopping for money and shopping money from transportation money.
A Coin Pocket
A coin pocket with a secure zipper is what you need. Sure they’re just coins but they’re still money, you know! As they say, every centavo counts. Some people prefer to use a separate purse for coins but I think it’s handy to have a coin purse with your travel wallet. That way, you won’t have to mind a lot of things during your travels.
A Passport Holder
When you’re a tourist, you are often required to present a passport in many occasions. Having a passport holder in your travel wallet will make things much easier for you. All you need to bring around is a single item and it already has everything you need to get by locally. Pretty neat, right?