Author Topic: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?  (Read 7296 times)

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Offline Stevenp

Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« on: March 20, 2011, 03:23:04 pm »
So, my trip is still months away but I am wondering about how to treat my finances. I am not sure whether to take personal travelers checks, or to simply have my debit card on me, or maybe two debit cards (one hidden). Or which bank to open an account with? Hopefully a bank I will have access to across the country. Should I have money mailed to me? What tips for money would you have for me?

Also, I am looking at the option of insuring my bike and all of the gear. Is there a way of doing that?

I appreciate your help as always!!

Stevenp

Online staehpj1

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 03:51:13 pm »
Debit card...  Definitely, but remember that it can't be the only thing you use.  What happens if it gets hacked and your bank cancels it?  In places will need cash.

I advise using the debit card as the primary source of money.

Carry at least few days worth of cash.  I typically have $50-200 in cash at any given time.

A few checks are a good idea too.  I used them mostly for exact change at honor type campsites.  I never seem to have the right amount for exact change in cash.

A back up card can be another debit card or a credit card.

Will you have someone at home that is paying bills and can transfer money for you?  That is really handy.  They help also with mailing stuff too and from home.

Insuring bike and gear?  Personally I don't bother, but I buy mostly inexpensive stuff that I can afford to replace if I need to.

Oh and I typically keep all cash, credit/debit cards, camera, phone, and other valuables in the handlebar bag, which goes with me everywhere.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 04:22:55 pm »
A credit card is good for, just in case situations. Has anyone read Darren Alff's book, "The Bicycle Travelers Blue Print? He writes, "You don’t need thousands of dollars in the bank to go on a bicycle tour. In fact, most bicycle tourists travel on $5 – $25 USD per day. (If you think this is unrealistic… just you wait and see! My first 5 bike tours cost me less than $10 per day… and I’ll show you how I did it!)" I would be curious what you think about the book. Do you think it may help StevenP?

Offline leicrao1

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 05:22:54 pm »
$100 in cash at all times kept in different places about your person and bike, and a couple of credit cards with someone at home to pay the bill when it comes through.

Offline Stevenp

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 05:46:03 pm »
I have thought that most likely my budget of $1000 per month is overkill. I really want to enjoy the nights camping out anywhere, preferably stealth camping. I'm making sure I purchase the perfect tent and sleeping bag so that I truly enjoy camping in my tent and am not looking forward to getting to any hotel.

I know that noodles can last for awhile and besides the sauce, i don't need much more than that.
I really hope that my budget is WAY over what I need. I really like the idea of $10/day and I believe it's quite possible without much hassle.

I like the ideas you're giving me so far. I may look into purchasing that book.

Offline windrath

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2011, 07:00:49 pm »
I always have a couple of credit cards and cash as was mentioned.  If you Stealth camp, you will save $10-15 per night.  If you eat like they do on Survivor, you can get by on less than $10 a day.  Although my touring experience is limited compared to the others (cross country once, Fairbanks to Vancouver, Lewis and Clark, and Lake Ontario to the Atlantic), I have never been able to ride 70-80 miles a day and eat enough to not bonk as well as enjoy local establishments for less than $15 a day and that would be skimping.

Your estimate of $30 a day is much more realistic if you are going to enjoy local eateries and bakeries and some ice cream along the way.

Plan for more expensive and be surprised when it is less.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 07:14:28 pm »
Credit/debit cards. Two different kinds to handle places that don't take everything. Somebody at home to pay the bills when they arrive, or set it up for autopay. This will take care of most things.

Credit/debit cards that work in ATM machines. Check coverage (web sites will tell you where the machines are) for whatever network you use to make sure you'll be able to find outlets where you will be.

Cash. As much as you feel comfortable with.

Keep all of the above on your body 100% of the time, even when in the shower (yes, you can do that). Rather than spread it around, I keep all my eggs in one basket and watch that basket like a hawk. If you are a very careful, anal person who doesn't lose things, that should work well. If you do tend to lose things, however, then you might want to spread the stuff around with perhaps some emergency cash hidden in the handlebars or seat post.

Assume you're not going to get mugged. It's extremely unlikely and you cannot prepare much for it anyway.

Insurance for your stuff? Forget about it. It's too expensive. Just take reasonable precautions, which vary from place to place. You're common sense, assuming you have some, will be enough.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2011, 08:43:41 pm »
... I am looking at the option of insuring my bike and all of the gear. Is there a way of doing that?

Most homeowners and renters policies cover your stuff against theft when away from home. You might need to buy an inexpensive endorsement for a valuable item like a high-end camera or maybe even the bike. I do not not know a good way to insure against accidental damage except, of course, the liability coverage of the driver of a car that damages your stuff. If he or she sticks around.

Fred

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2011, 09:59:36 pm »
Go to bicyclegifts.com and get one of those plastic waterproof wallets that you can keep around your neck.  I wear it on the neck climbing, biking, hiking, even sometimes at the gym.  Be sure to fix the strap so it can't come unlatched.  It will carry ID, cards, cash, etc in a handy nearly impossible-to-lose way.

You can stash cash in the handlebar tube by popping off the stop at the end, and when replacing it wrapping it in some electrical tape.  My leatherman has a near-needlenose pliers that can retrieve it.  Be sure you don't cram it too far in, or tie a string around the wad of a few bills and have the string coming out so the tape holds it at the end.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 11:23:06 am »
I know that noodles can last for awhile and besides the sauce, i don't need much more than that.  I really hope that my budget is WAY over what I need. I really like the idea of $10/day and I believe it's quite possible without much hassle.

Having ridden 65 miles/day for almost four months and done two other month + tours, I think you will find yourself needing a lot more than some noodles and sauce.  $10/day is $3.33/meal. That doesn't include snacks.  Have you looked at your current daily expenditure for consumables and factored in the increased calorie expenditure that comes with life on the road?

And expect to encounter higher prices than normal in some places.  You may find youself having to shop at Ma & Pa Kettle's Mercantile.  Places like that don't get the same wholesale prices as Wal Mart.

And personally, sampling the regional fare is one of the great parts of touring.  Passing through western Montana and not having huckleberry pancakes or a huckleberry milkshake is like going to Venice and not seeing the Plaza San Marco.  If I had the means, I would treat myself.

Online staehpj1

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 12:20:36 pm »
And expect to encounter higher prices than normal in some places.  You may find youself having to shop at Ma & Pa Kettle's Mercantile.  Places like that don't get the same wholesale prices as Wal Mart.
Don't ignore this factor.  The fact of the matter is that some of the mom and pop stores I stopped at in the west actually bought their stock at walmart retail and had to drive 40-80 miles to do that.  No surprise that they were pretty high and had a poor selection.


Online staehpj1

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 12:23:11 pm »
$100 in cash at all times kept in different places about your person and bike
I hear that from folks, but don't really get it.  Personally I'd rather have it all in one place and with me at all times.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2011, 01:56:40 pm »
Forgot to mention...Don't forget to inform your cedit card company and the bank(s) that you have ATM cards from that you will be travelling across the country.  You don't want them to shut your cards off because they think someone has stolen them.

Also, if your budget is tight, take out as much money as possible when you use an ATM.  You will almost certainly be changed double fees--one by your bank for using a "foreign" ATM machine and the another by the owner of the machine.  That could easily be $3-$4/pop.  If you are on a $10/day budget, that goes down to $9 if you are taking out money every 3-4 days.

And don't forget to budget for bike service and parts.  There is a good chance you will need a tire or two along the way.  I am big and carried a lot of weight on my first tour and needed two new rear tires and one new front tire over the course of nearly 4 months.  That was about $100 right there.  If I am not mistaken, you are planning to be on the road for 5 months.  That's roughly 150 days.  $150 worth of service and parts is $1/day average right there.

Offline Stevenp

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2011, 03:34:48 pm »
Also, if your budget is tight, take out as much money as possible when you use an ATM.  You will almost certainly be changed double fees--one by your bank for using a "foreign" ATM machine and the another by the owner of the machine.  That could easily be $3-$4/pop.  If you are on a $10/day budget, that goes down to $9 if you are taking out money every 3-4 days.

Man, that's a great point, thank you!

Also, i plan on having my parents mail things to me along the way, including valuables like money or whatever else. How exactly would I go about it. Would I simply have to know where I will be in, say, a week, tell them the city and have them mail it to the post office? How does that work to have them mail things to me along the way?

Offline indyfabz

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 04:12:23 pm »
Also, if your budget is tight, take out as much money as possible when you use an ATM.  You will almost certainly be changed double fees--one by your bank for using a "foreign" ATM machine and the another by the owner of the machine.  That could easily be $3-$4/pop.  If you are on a $10/day budget, that goes down to $9 if you are taking out money every 3-4 days.

Man, that's a great point, thank you!

Also, i plan on having my parents mail things to me along the way, including valuables like money or whatever else. How exactly would I go about it. Would I simply have to know where I will be in, say, a week, tell them the city and have them mail it to the post office? How does that work to have them mail things to me along the way?

Our crack postal service fails to give you the detailed instructions:

http://www.usps.com/receive/choicesfordelivery/receivemailinotherplaces.htm

I forget the precise method, but I think to send general delivery mail you put the name of the recipent, the city, state and zip and the words “General Delivery” on the package.  I got a lot of film and other goodies shipped to me that way.  Worked well, but I would be waryu about sending cash.  Note that in larger cities with more than one post office, the package will be waiting at the post office deignated to hold general delivery mail.