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Motorcycle RTW Trip - How to manage my money?

Motorcycle RTW Trip - How to manage my money?

Old Mar 12, 12, 2:41 pm
  #1  
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Motorcycle RTW Trip - How to manage my money?

So I'm selling everything I own, and taking the about $50k I'm worth and driving around the world for a couple years on my motorcycle.

I'm wondering if folks have financial mgmt tips for me - like, in which bank(s) it'd make the most sense to keep my money. How I might integrate a really good credit or debt card into my travels to earn points or avoid fees, etc!

Thanks!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:45 pm
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How about HSBC, the world's local bank?

Have a great trip. Slightly envious.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:46 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by golfmad View Post
How about HSBC, the world's local bank?

Have a great trip. Slightly envious.
Okay I will look into them, thanks! And Thanks! ^
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Old Mar 12, 12, 3:28 pm
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I did a RTW trip recently and after some research came to the conclusion that a free checking account with Charles Schwab was the best way to get cash worldwide. It is a Visa card on the Plus network . There were only 1 or 2 places in very small towns where they did not have an ATM where I could get cash using this card.

Also, they charge no foreign transaction fees and actually refund all ATM fees. In addition, their customer service is top notch. I don't know of any other account that offers all of this, especially for free. I met a number of American travelers using this type of account.

I would recommend having a second checking account w/ ATM card that is on the Maestro/Cirrus network (Mastercard) just for emergencies. This came in handy for us once or twice on the road.

Good luck!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 4:44 pm
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My suggestion? Divide and conquer. I ALWAYS keep at least two debit cards with me, because I did have one instance in China when I couldn't get access to money. Granted it was because I scheduled a transfer to that account to occur on the wrong date. Still, I would suggest you put your eggs in at least two baskets.

Personally, I use both Capital One money market savings (gives an ATM card) as well as credit card (visa, no points/miles). Of course I use the Chase Sapphire, but CC information is something that is already in abundance elsewhere.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 4:53 pm
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+10000

Charles Schwab is the best debit card out there. No Foreign transaction fees, no atm fees (they refund fees, so you can take out $1 as often as you want). Accepted almost everywhere and you can use as an atm or CC.

I'd also get a second card, maybe on the mastro network, but def for backup. Also keep a stash of emergency money on you. Maybe on your bike or in your shoes. $100 is a good figure to tide you over for a few days.

Where are you planning on going, please do share!



Originally Posted by highgear View Post
I did a RTW trip recently and after some research came to the conclusion that a free checking account with Charles Schwab was the best way to get cash worldwide. It is a Visa card on the Plus network . There were only 1 or 2 places in very small towns where they did not have an ATM where I could get cash using this card.

Also, they charge no foreign transaction fees and actually refund all ATM fees. In addition, their customer service is top notch. I don't know of any other account that offers all of this, especially for free. I met a number of American travelers using this type of account.

I would recommend having a second checking account w/ ATM card that is on the Maestro/Cirrus network (Mastercard) just for emergencies. This came in handy for us once or twice on the road.

Good luck!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:27 pm
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This has been great advice! I knew I asked the right community, thank you!

I'm getting the CS debt card and checking account now, and plan on using that for all of my "get cash now" moments. (Yes, will keep cash stashed on me in multiple places for redundancy, good call!)

I'm wondering, If I keep, say like 5k at a time in the CS checking, and completely agree that having more than one account with cash in it (especially using different ATM networks, great idea!) is a good call, might I use a high interest account to keep the rest of my money in? Good/Bad idea?

The planned trip is: Central America > South America > Africa > India\Nepal\Bangladesh\Bhutan > Southeast Asia!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 5:30 pm
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Yeah, I'd say keep 3k in the check account and the rest in the Schwab brokerage. It takes about 30 seconds to transfer the money between the two, but in case you are robbed, card is stolen, etc..you dont lose it all or even have to wait for the bank to reimburse you.

I cant say how great it is not to have to pay $5 to get cash every time. On a 10 day trip, this could be $50. On a four year trip, this could be $1000

Can you fly with your bike from S.America to Africa?


Originally Posted by bouyakasha View Post
This has been great advice! I knew I asked the right community, thank you!

I'm getting the CS debt card and checking account now, and plan on using that for all of my "get cash now" moments. (Yes, will keep cash stashed on me in multiple places for redundancy, good call!)

I'm wondering, If I keep, say like 5k at a time in the CS checking, and completely agree that having more than one account with cash in it (especially using different ATM networks, great idea!) is a good call, might I use a high interest account to keep the rest of my money in? Good/Bad idea?

The planned trip is: Central America > South America > Africa > India\Nepal\Bangladesh\Bhutan > Southeast Asia!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:37 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by bouyakasha View Post
I'm wondering, If I keep, say like 5k at a time in the CS checking, and completely agree that having more than one account with cash in it (especially using different ATM networks, great idea!) is a good call, might I use a high interest account to keep the rest of my money in? Good/Bad idea?

The planned trip is: Central America > South America > Africa > India\Nepal\Bangladesh\Bhutan > Southeast Asia!
Two more suggestions I thought of. First, will you have internet access to transfer money if required? I don't know how remote you're going, but then again if you're that remote you probably don't see ATMs that often either. :-)

Additionally, don't forget to use different PIN numbers for each card and have a scanned/emailed or other method of saving your card issuer phone numbers, account numbers, and "secret words" that some companies require you know before you talk to them. If a person sees your pin at an ATM and muggs you, at least they can't get ALL of your money. It only takes one theft to ruin your trip!

As others have said, do keep us updated. Very envious!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:43 pm
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A few thoughts:

Have 2 debit cards, use separate pins on each card, as others have pointed out best of on 2 different networks. Keep them in separate places - i.e. not both in your wallet!
-one of these cards should be the Charles Schwab card for all of the reasons mentioned above
-perhaps the other one could be from your high interest account (unless you don't want to have access to all of your savings via a debit card in case of theft). Would be nice if it were also a no foreign transaction fee/ATM fee reimbursed card.
-set your high interest account to auto transfer every 1-2 weeks your budgeted amount into Schwab; then you only have to make extra transfers when something out of the ordinary happens.
-have a "cushion" in your schwab account in case you miscalculate something.
-consider adding an authorized user in the states that you trust, consider giving them online access to your accounts to they can watch for anything strange from home.

Have at least 2 credit cards with no foreign transaction fee, again, don't keep in the same place... Visa and MasterCard have the widest acceptance. CapitalOne cards all carry no annual fee and no international transaction fee. Consider this one, a straight up 1.5% cashback everywhere with no annual fee and no FTF is not too shabby. A number of other cards have no international transaction fees, such as the Priority Club Visa and the Marriott Visa - both of these cards have hefty signup bonuses and earn a free night certificate offsetting the annual fee (waived for the first year) as well, so if you're going to be staying at hotels at all along the way, they may be good options. Discover Cards also carry no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, but are not as widely accepted.
-Autopay is your friend.

This table has a ton of information regarding debit/credit cards for international use.

As others have mentioned, carry some cash to get you through in a pinch. Not a great amount, as cash obviously cannot be replaced when stolen. Again, don't keep it all in one place. Honestly, when accepted you're much better off using credit/debit cards...they can be replaced if lost or stolen However, in my experience, getting them to remote areas in 3rd world countries is NOT easy at all.

Try to avoid changing money (cash) as much as possible...it's a wripoff. Remember with Schwab, you can make small withdrawals for no penalty/cost...which means there is no advantage to carrying a lot of cash. Best if you spend most of the cash you get in each country...

US dollars will be accepted in a lot of places, and sometimes it won't cost you more to spend them - my rule of thumb, always pay in the currency quoted (be it USD or local currency). If they convert, even into their home currency, they usually use a rate that is favorable to them, and sometimes by several percent.

Travelers Checks? They're a thing of the past, but I carry some just in case...to get me out of a pinch. They're nice because they are replaceable if lost or stolen, so you can afford to carry a bit more. Banks almost everywhere will take them, even if for a hefty commission.

Keep all of the NON toll free numbers for your banks/credit/debit cards in one place. Might be best to only write down the last 4 digits of the credit/debit card numbers on this paper, and keep 2 copies. Last 4 digits because into the wrong hands your cc# can become a nice tool...DON'T carry a copy of front and back of all cards as some may recommend - it includes your ccv code...Usually with the last 4 numbers and other identifiers, the bank can look up your info, but then you're not handing out your account numbers to anyone who gets ahold of the paper.

Toll free numbers are HARD to call from abroad - but, you can use gmail or skype. Again, the local "call me collect" number is best.

Get a cheap Quad Band unlocked GSM phone (should be able to get one for $20 or so); or if you are a T-mobile or ATT customer and already have a quad band phone, get the unlock code from them while you're still a customer in good standing. It is incredibly cheap to get a SIM card in most countries, and usually surprisingly cheap to call back to the states. May help you in an emergency...may help you get ahold of your bank quickly (program your bank phone numbers here?)... Even if you don't plan to be using it frequently, may give loved ones at home peace of mind that they have a way to contact you... FORGET using your US based cell phone abroad, it is incredibly expensive.

Get an iPod touch or other similar handheld wifi enabled device (or old wifi enabled smartphone) - there is wifi everywhere...

Watch your credit card and bank statements closely. Fraud, while quite uncommon, is easily remedied if caught in time.

Carry extra copies of your passport everywhere. Go to Kinkos and get 2-3 wallet sized color laminated copies made (photo page on front, signature page on back). This will suffice as ID many many places worldwide (i.e. Hotels, not immigration), and prevent you from having to produce your real passport except when absolutely necessary (so that you can avoid unnecessary lost or stolen risk).

Consider an annual medical evacuation insurance plan. I have one through travelguard (~$200/year); however, I believe it only covers me for trips of <90 days, so you'd have to get a policy to cover what you are doing. Get one with high benefit limits...medical evacuation costs a TON (hundreds of thousands is not unheard of). Consider having emergency medical coverage as well.

Have fun...if you need any tips on Central America, most of my recent travel is there.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 8:58 pm
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I tried to get a color copy of my passport at my local UPS store, and they said they couldn't do it - it was illegal to make a color copy.

FWIW



DD
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Old Mar 12, 12, 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by DoggyDaddy View Post
I tried to get a color copy of my passport at my local UPS store, and they said they couldn't do it - it was illegal to make a color copy.

FWIW



DD
Interesting. I googled it, and came up with a lot of discussion boards without any consensus. One made mention that it was illegal for the copying center to make color copies of legal identifications, but legal for individuals to do so. No one was able to produce any reference to the illegality, though it may not be legal. The travel.state.gov website mentions in several places that one should carry photocopies of their passport when they travel, but it does not specify that they can or cannot be color. One would think that if it were illegal to make a color copy, it would specify that explicitly. The only reason I mentioned color above is that it makes the picture easier to identify and the number easier to read for times you are using it to check into a hotel or to make a credit card purchase, etc.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 10:15 pm
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Scan all of your important documents, passport, ID, etc... and email copies of them to your internet email account. Something that is accessible from any internet connected computer int he world. Then WHEN, not IF, you have a problem you can download and print your identity documents at any internet cafe. Much easier to prove who you are with a nice clear copy of your passport and travel visas.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 11:32 pm
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Just buy an iphone unlocked. If you someoen you know has sprint, the phone can be unlocked after 90 days. Not great, but unlocked is a bit more expensive. Great part of it is that you can use it anywhere with a microsim. If countries dont have microsim, you can cut it into iphone microsim. youtube it.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 12:37 am
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Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
Scan all of your important documents, passport, ID, etc... and email copies of them to your internet email account. Something that is accessible from any internet connected computer int he world.
This is great advice, and something that I have been doing for years. It has bailed me out of the s**t on a couple of occasions.

For the money question, I concur with the previous posters - get a couple of debit cards that allow you to draw money from ATM's without a charge, then get a Mastercard, Visa and Amex. Again, try for cards with zero or low foreign transaction fees.
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