Keep Your Money Safe in Africa
Top ten tips to keep your money safe in Africa
Given current news, we wanted to bring you our top tips to keep your money safe when you travel in Africa. It’s easy when you know how and remember, fleecing happens the world over not just Africa. So be mindful, be cautious and be prepared.
Tell the bank and government you are travelling in Africa, the countries and the timeframes. That way, if anything happens they know and often times banks will alert you whilst you are travelling if there is suspicious behaviour.
Do your homework and ascertain what you will need for your trip to Africa. If you travel with us, most of the time your holiday is full board or fully inclusive and we give you tipping and shopping guides. If you don’t have all that, simply calculate what you will spend on accommodation, food, drinks, transport, shopping and tipping. Be generous in your calculations to avoid disappointment later.
Know the local currencies and watch the exchange rates before you fly. We always encourage guests to organise currency in advance of travel and take cash with them. Many of our trips are travelling to remote areas with no bank teller or ATM access. So cash is king. If you plan ahead you can ride the exchange rate wave and get a good deal.
Avoid local currencies beyond USD and Rand. The reason being is other currencies are only available in Africa and if you come home with piles of pula you will be stuck with them! If you want to use local currency for shopping, take out smaller amounts or if larger amounts and you have change, hand it in at the airport for USD or Aussie dollars.
Avoid credit cards because often times you will be hit with hefty fees. So we always use a travel debit card that’s cashed up and not linked to our main account.
When you are travelling with cash, be sensible in terms of where you store it. Avoid bum bags. That screams tourist. Avoid having the money all in one place at one time. We travel with currency every time we visit Africa and at any given moment we have money in our handbag or backpack, main bag and usually stuffed in my shoe for those surprise shopping moments!
Be mindful of locking your bags and using safes in hotels. It is not worth leaving your bag with money sitting on the bed as you duck downstairs for a cheeky drink. It is just common sense but when we are on holidays sometimes our brain relaxes a little too much and we can do silly things like that.
Say no every time someone comes to offer assistance at a bank ATM. The machines will tell you the actions required to withdraw funds. If you are feeling anxious with someone standing too close behind you and you happen to be alone, it is easy to simply cancel the transaction, remove your card and walk away.
When paying a bill, never hand over your card if they are walking away with it. Make sure you see the machine being used and are standing in front to watch the amount they enter and get a copy of the receipt.
You have come a long distance for this wonderful African holiday so make sure you don’t let money ruin it. Be grateful to those providing great service and tip generously for you will be rewarded ten fold. Be kind and open to the adventure that awaits in Africa. Often times we hear of people getting fleeced who were rude to staff or tight with tipping or not tipping at all.