Okay, so I’m going off to South Americato no way at all to check out the Brazilian beauties on the beach (can you tell I’m lying?).
But in order for that to succeed, I got to make sure my bank affairs are in order before leaving the country. Armed with the horrendous stories of banks stopping cards while abroad, I found out that most of these problems happen because the backpackers failed to inform the bank where they were going to be. Of course, the bank will stop, immediately, your cards if they see you spending willy nilly in a country far across the world when they think you are staying at home watching Trisha and Homes Under the Hammer on the tv in the snow. (yes, I admit I have been watching them).
So head to the place where your precious bank account is and TELL them where you will be going. if you have dates, brilliant, tell them. If you have your route printed out including all the dates and where you are going to be, show it to them. Granted, you may be going ad-hoc round the world and not exactly sure where you may be going…that’s fine, just as long you keep telling them when you are on the move. When I went to the place where I went to open a bank account all them years ago, I stepped up to the polite lady, who became wrapped up in a seething rage of jealousy as she hears that you are going to summer in South America instead of staying in the snow here in the UK. Maybe telling her that it was going to be 30 degrees warmer wasn’t a good idea. But I told her to include a note to my bank account and my credit cards to say that in case my bank sees any irregular payments, then they would check out the note and breathe a sigh of relief that their most valued customer (and probably the most handsome) is safe in South American shores. I did tell them where I would be going – Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil – (again not a good idea in front of the jealous woman), and I did tell them when I would be returning to ensure normal activity resumes.
I’m glad to see I did this before I went on my RTW travels in 2012 and at no point did they piss me around by cancelling cards. Even at the time when I thought my credit cards stopped working because I changed my PIN Number and forgot. Stupid boy.
Also, to err on the safe side, make sure you have several bank accounts to spread your travel money across. There’s nothing worse than finding your sole account is closed off finding yourself stranded in rural Brazil. Thus in order to get some money, you have to pose in your speedos for pornesque shoots. I’d still do it but never mind…
And finally, if you are truly the seasoned backpacker, then I would heartily recommend you to get CURRENCY CARDS, that you can load onto from your bank account without having to open that to unknown companies that I may book with. A currency card will do and more so, it offers very small exchange rates. Talk to your bank to see if they can offer that.
So there you go, 3 main things you should do with your bank before travelling.
1) Tell your bank where and when you will be going
2) Spread out your travel money
3) Get a currency card!
As compare the meekats would say…simples!