How Much Cash Should You Take on Vacation?
It seems there’s no longer any need for cash. We all use credit cards or debit cards in most places these days to handle hotel reservations, gas, dining out, shopping, amusement parks, and just about anything else that is needed while on vacation. ATM machines and debit card readers, such as in-store card terminals, Apple Pay, and even Paypal have rendered the cash mode virtually obsolete. So why take cash? How much should you take on vacation and why?
Here are some things to consider when deciding how much (if any) cash to take on your next vacation from some of the travel experts at Skycap News:
- Default to using cards first– The experts at bankrate.com suggest using a card primarily, especially for major purchases. Using cash offers no security in terms of “proof of sale” and no way to trace the transaction if there is a problem with the purchase later on.
- Lighten up your wallet and use ATM’s– The experts also recommend not taking too much cash at a time, because if you are robbed, you could lose it all. Some people take a thousand dollars or more and put it in their wallet on vacation. It’s best, say the experts, to take a couple hundred instead at most, then locate an ATM as you need more. There are a few places that cash works better with, such as amusement park rides and special events that do not have a debit card machine. But, in general, keep the cash to a minimum, out of sight, and use it only for places where debit cards are not welcome.
- Budget your cash flow- Just like when you are at home, you don’t want to spend it all in one place. So budget the approximate amount of cash you will need for various vacation activities (including shopping) and try not to go over that. It is quite tempting to overspend for little things, souvenirs, and other items and it can really add up fast if you don’t allocate your funds.
- Follow The Rain Man’s Advice– In the movie, “Rain Man,” starring Dustin Hoffman, his answer was a flat: $100. He said this because his character believed that $100 is the most amount the average person would need at any given moment to carry with them for emergencies, whether at home or away. I have to agree that this sum sounds like a reasonable amount. And if you need more, there’s always an ATM nearby.
- Use the Charles Givens’ rule– I personally really got a lot out of Charles Givens’ book, “Wealth Without Risk.” In this book (and video below), Givens recommends many things, not the least of which is to take out exactly how much cash you are “allowing yourself” each month and once that’s gone, that’s it. This puts you in a position of taking too much cash, though, so you may want to store away the rest, or just make a mental note of how much more you are allowing yourself. But the principle is a good one: operate on cash for your miscellaneous and once the money is gone, that’s it! No more spending. It certainly could mean coming back home with more cash than you expect to after your vacation! While some of this material may be slightly dated, the overall message is still relevant at present:
Well, there you have it: 5 methods to consider when deciding about cash and how much to take while traveling on vacation. Personally, I like “Rain Man’s” advice best regarding vacations. You can always pull out more as you need it. But, most of your expenses can be paid for via credit or debit card. At least if there is a problem during your much needed vacation, you have a traceable place to (How to) Document Your Vacation to start getting your money back. Safe travels whether it be a cash or credit vacation!