Hong Kong has the big city specials like smog, odour, 14 million elbows and an insane love of clatter. But it's also efficient, hushed and peaceful: the transport network is excellent, the shopping centres are sublime, and the temples and quiet corners of parks are contemplative oases. The best thing about being in Hong Kong is getting flummoxed and fired by the confluences ...

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Managing your Money on your Round the World Trip

Getting to grips with your money when travelling will make a big difference to the kind of trip you have and how long you can afford to stay away.In most countries, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much cheaper things are than at home. Beware though - some countries are so cheap they lull you into a sense of feeling so well off that you stop bothering to budget at all and end up spending more than you would than at home !.

Depending on the style of trip you are on, you can also manage your money more easily if you book and pay for things before you go like, accommodation, and bus passes. This can even apply if you don't know when you will be in each place as they can be booked on an 'open dated' basis.Here are some issues to consider:.

Online banking
An online banking facility is a great way to keep up to date with your account on home shores. You can check your balance, see what's coming in and going out, and transfer money if you need to.Bill payments whilst you're away
Unfortunately, bills don't have any respect for the fact you're taking a break and travelling the world.

If things need to be paid whilst you're out of the country, try to organise direct debits before you leave.Cash
A small selection of $1, $5 and $10 US dollar bills will always be handy as emergency money anywhere in the world. Especially handy if you run out of local currency, can't find an ATM, on public holidays etc. It is also advisable to arrive at your destination with some local currency - this will reduce airport stress levels!.

If you haven't organised this or are going to a country such as India or Tanzania or Cuba, where money can't be obtained outside their borders, don't worry, there will almost always be a bank or bureau de change open on arrival. If not or if you can't face joining in the scrum, you always have your emergency $ bills.Don't keep all of your cash in one place. In most developing countries pulling 100 worth of local currency out of your pocket to peel off a couple of small notes to pay for a taxi or a drink will make you stick and out like a sore thumb and attract the wrong kind of attention.When you are changing money, especially in developing countries, make sure you don't get it all in big notes, as when paying for little things in the local economy, people simply will not have change for big notes.

When you're in a different country, you might find that the rules are different e.g. in India or Tanzania it is illegal to take their currency out of the country or purchase foreign currency.

A final piece of advice re cash: keep it in good nick. In lot of developing countries, notes that are torn (whether local or $US) are considered worthless. This unwritten rule forms the basis for endless entertainment in places like India, where everyone tries to play the game of off-load their torn notes onto each other.

Traveller's cheques
These may be antiquated, but are still probably the safest way of taking money abroad as the key feature of travellers cheques is that if you lose them, they can be replaced. We would advise that unless you are a particularly scrupulous at keeping records, don't take lots of denominations. If you are unlucky enough to lose them, you will need to confirm each cheque number to get them replaced.

If you all of your cheques are for the same amount, it will be much easier to keep track of which ones you have cashed and which ones have been lost than if you take out a selection of 10 's 20's 50's and 100's.Travellers cheques can be purchased on-line here and delivered to your home address the next day or a day you specify:
Contrary to popular belief, unless you will be travelling in the USA there is usually no need to take travellers cheques in US $. Cheques are accepted pretty much everywhere.

The reason you should avoid changing your money into $'s is down to the dodgy exchange rates that will be used - i.e. you will lose around 5 % of your money each time you change it.

Credit cards and debit cards.These handy little things a very convenient way to get hold of money whilst travelling. The good news with these is that the exchange rate that credit card companies use is usually slightly better than with cash. The bad news is that there are handling fees of approximately 3% on transactions - not to mention the really bad news if you don't pay your monthly credit card bill.

The transaction fee on debit card transactions will be lower, but the rate of exchange is often not as favourable as the one used for credit card transactions. You also of course need to have sufficient money in your current account.You should also be extra careful when using cards when travelling and ensure that all transactions are done in your presence.These days you can find ATM machines even in quite obscure places.Currency exchanges
It's always worth shopping around wherever you are, as the exchange rate can vary as widely as the commissions you pay.

If you have to change money at a big hotel, try not to change too much as rates here will always be way less favourable than at a bank.In some destinations you might be offered currency exchange by touts. The rates are usually no better than doing things the legal way, so we'd advise you to stay well clear.

Finding tourists to accompany them to a discreet place where they will get all of their cash out, is at best an opportunity for criminals to off load some counterfeit cash and is at worst a golden opportunity for them to mug you.You should of course also make sure that you are aware of who is hanging around / watching you when you are changing money or at ATM machines, and get your cash tucked away out of sight as soon as possible!.Money wires
With money wires you can send money to another part of the world in a matter of minutes. It can be an expensive process though, so we'd say it's only worth it in an emergency case. and finally.try to leave a bit of cash at home for when you return.

Coming back home after a big round the world trip is never an easy experience, but being able to buy a round of drinks will soften the landing.

.Haydn Wrath is the owner at Travel nation specialising in round the world flight tickets and adventure travel.

Travel Nation have a wealth of experience in putting together round the world itineries.For more information visit Travel Nation.

By: Haydn Wrath



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