Personal Security and Banking
Our 2 main concerns were personal safety and security and banking.
Personal Security and Safety
To ensure you can access all your documents even after a robbery, scan each one and email it to yourself.
We have scanned the front and back of every card, passport and vaccine certificate we will be taking with us. This way if any of them are stolen, we have access to the data needed to report them stolen, close the card etc.
We are not approaching this from this the perspective of everyone is out to rob us, but we are aware that some of the countries we are visiting will earn less in a year than what we earn in a month.
So for day-to-day safety we are opting for secret money belts, and secret travel wallets for document storage. In the event of a robbery we have also created fake wallets with in-date but cancelled bank cards, along with $20 to make them look real.
We are also making a conscious decision to not take any expensive items with us. Instead we will take my 6 year old mobile for emergencies, our cameras (not new, but in good working order) and an old netbook. Apart from that we have no other expensive technology, jewellery or luxury items on us.
We wanted to ensure that we could not only access our money easily but that in case of theft the main pot would be safe. And we didn’t want to pay additional charges for withdrawing our cash.
We researched the best options for us, from bank accounts to cash cards and in the end opted for a 3 tier system to enable, accessibility, security and minimal charges.
Our main pot of money sits in ING Direct, an online only bank and our money is accessible via a joint account.
So our second stage is our main bank account, the reason for keeping this is to ensure activity continues in our accounts and hopefully keep our credit rating from becoming worthless.
Our third stage is a Metro bank account. This is a new bank in the UK and unlike the others it offer zero charges on usage abroad, plus they are even willing to courier a new card out to us if ours is stolen!
So the set up works like this, from ING we transfer into our respective bank accounts and allow the cash to sit there for a couple of days, when we need the money we transfer to Metro, which only takes a couple of hours to clear, and use the Metro card to withdraw.
It might sound like a bit of a hassle but realistically its only a couple of clicks and it ensures we are never at risk of losing more than a few hundred pounds at any one time.