/// Conceal + Secure Access to Money as a Vagabond
…concealing and securing access to money.
As a vagabond I am forever a foreigner. Despite my natural capacity to blend in and adapt to my constantly changing environments as well as my personal preference as a world citizen – on a technical and legal level, I am still always a foreigner.
This means my banks, credit cards, securities and properties are located where my passport originates, far from reach. As is the case with all other nomads.
Securing ways to access your money electronically and concealing the physical cash you have in possession is vital to traveling tactically.
Concealing / Stashing Money
A few decades ago before the advent of the now ubiquitous ATM machine, travelers had to physically carry all or most of their money on them. Hardly an issue if on a short holiday but long term world travelers and backpackers had to take extra care of this burden.
Even now with ATM’s on every corner and various types of online banking, we still need some printed money in our pocket.
This is even more important with a nomadic lifestyle due to the very nature of being away from your “home base”.
Making it difficult or impossible to visit our financial institute branch to resolve a major problem that requires our presence or because of the weeks it may take to receive a replacement credit / debit card abroad. There is also the possibility theft or loss.
This is why travelers should keep a few inconspicuous caches of reliable currency (Euros and Dollars) hidden on our person and within our baggage. Saving the last few banknotes after leaving a country to convert to a usable currency as emergency backup funds is another method which could also be used as souvenirs.
Securing Access to Money
Other than the cash we have in hand, our debit and credit cards are the most convenient, direct and often only source of money as a nomad. When abroad, a traveler usually can’t walk into our bank to withdrawal money (since a branch is likely unavailable overseas) if the ATM card is lost, stolen, damaged or expired.
This is why travelers should keep backup cards readily available. If your bank has free checking accounts, open another one so that you can have 2 debit cards – moving money from each account should be easy making it ideal as dual backup cards. In case there’s a problem with your primary bank account, open an online specific bank account like PayPal or Simple which will give you another ATM card to access your money. Finally, carry at least 1 credit card but use it only for emergencies to avoid international fees.
The primary and backup cards shouldn’t all be in a single location. Spread them out through 3 separate places; on your person, in your daypack and in your main pack. Just like hiding your money.
When traveling as a nomad, its particularly important to actively protect your money and the ways to access it.