Author Topic: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?  (Read 7010 times)

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Offline driftlessregion

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2011, 10:39:03 pm »
The wierd thing about travelers checks is that banks and credit unions won't cash them. Merchants will take them as cash but not the institutions that sell them. I was in a credit union on the NT and though I belonged at the time to three different credit unions I couldn't get one (or any bank) to cash my checks.

Online DaveB

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2011, 09:07:45 am »
The wierd thing about travelers checks is that banks and credit unions won't cash them. Merchants will take them as cash but not the institutions that sell them. I was in a credit union on the NT and though I belonged at the time to three different credit unions I couldn't get one (or any bank) to cash my checks.
A lot of merchants are leary of them too.  They have become a rare form of payment since credit and debit cards have taken over and many shops see very few of them.   Also, they are fairly easy to counterfit and, since they aren't as commonly seen as regular bills, merchants aren't sure what to look for. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2011, 09:28:28 am »
The wierd thing about travelers checks is that banks and credit unions won't cash them. Merchants will take them as cash but not the institutions that sell them. I was in a credit union on the NT and though I belonged at the time to three different credit unions I couldn't get one (or any bank) to cash my checks.
A lot of merchants are leary of them too.  They have become a rare form of payment since credit and debit cards have taken over and many shops see very few of them.   Also, they are fairly easy to counterfit and, since they aren't as commonly seen as regular bills, merchants aren't sure what to look for. 
I avoid using them for those reasons.

Offline mikeedgar

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2011, 07:54:40 pm »
For storing money, ID and CCs, how about a waist pocket that you can wear under your jersey? Lightweight and flat; you can wear it in back while you're riding for maximum comfort. I think it is important to always keep your money on you at all times. Unless you are used to always carrying a purse, you could easily forget your handlebar bag somewhere. I know, I had a tank bag on my MC and left it at a gas station. I was enjoying the ride so much I didn't notice it missing for an hour. Yup, it was gone when I went back to the gas station. 

Check out Eagle Creek.

Offline DU

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2011, 09:38:27 am »
I use a money belt like the Eagle Creek for Id's, CC, receipts and money, it works well for me. I would wear this around my waist, with the pocket under the shorts and the in the back. The cash in the belt was kept in a snack size ziplock, In addition to that I carried my normal cycling wallet, with a days worth of money, in a jersey pocket. That way I would not have to get the money belt out during the day, unless using an ATM.

http://www.rei.com/product/617988/eagle-creek-undercover-deluxe-security-belt

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2011, 07:04:57 pm »
Fact is, I have not used TCs for a long time. I never had a problen in restaurants with TCs as long as they were not large like over 100 or whatever. In the 80s when travelling Europe TCs were the way to go. Things have changed, but it would not hurt to have a backup reserve in TCs. I stopped using them when plastic became the rage, and after they went up to 2 per cent. In China they wanted 4 % for TCs in 1996. No more TCs for me, but they are a viable backup in case of theft or loss. Just an idea.

Offline happyriding

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2011, 07:40:33 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?

I would not have things mailed to you.  Trying to figure out where to have things mailed and then hooking up with them is a major hassle.  You will either get to the town too early and have to wait, or you will get there too late and the mail has been returned to a regional office, or the post office is closed, or you are at the wrong post office.  I had to have some special order tires mailed to me, and I will never do that again. You do not want to have any appointments when living on the road; you want to be able to live life foot loose and fancy free, and go where the wind blows you.   Mechanicals, side trips, detours, and hooking up with other riders are all possibilities that you don't want to have to forego because you have to be at a certain town at a certain time.

As for money, don't east coast banks have networks of branches up and down the coast?  All I carried was a credit card and an ATM card.  You rarely need to pay in cash for anything, so carry a little bit of cash for emergencies, and then charge everything.  I carried my wallet in a sandwich bag, and put it in my cycling jersey rear pocket, and that way it is with me at all times.  I left my camera in my handlebar bag on my bike along with my panniers(in which I carried a checkbook, which you need to pay for hiker/biker campground fees unless you pay cash).  You could unload your panniers and everything else into a grocery cart if you feel like you are in a bad neighborhood--but then I would just wheel the whole bike into the grocery store.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 07:51:12 pm by happyriding »

Offline happyriding

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2011, 09:18:41 pm »
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As for money, don't east coast banks have networks of branches up and down the coast
Ahhh, I now see you are doing the TransAm.  Awesome! 

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I have made most of my purchases at REI because the lifetime guarantee is priceless. If for any reason I run into any problem with the equipment, I can stop at any REI and the problem is fixed. That to me is comforting

Well done.  Although, REI has a big Spring camping sale every year, so I think if you had waited a little longer to buy your stuff, you could have gotten it all on sale.  Typically, you get a 20% off coupon for one non-sale item, and then a lot of camping stuff is on sale.  With an REI credit card, you even get another  5% back at the end of the year.  Come to think of it, if anything you bought is discounted at the Spring sale,  instead of returning the pieces of your gear that  are now on sale(remember you can return the gear for any reason), and then rebuying the sale items at the discounted price, REI will simply credit you with the difference in prices.  Do take advantage of that.

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The research and study continue and the next phase of preparation is getting real specific with my route planning. I'd rather not just follow a pre-determined map without studying the route myself. I may decide to use parts of the ACA maps, but nevertheless I will still map it out and learn the campgrounds, parks...etc. I'm giving myself a month to get that figured out. It may be a bit of overkill, but overkill for me is good.
Just so you know, no pre-planning is necessary.  Typically, the night before you will look at your ACA maps and decide which town and campground to shoot for—based on mileage and terrain(see the terrain graphs on your maps). You may make it; or mechanicals, flats, or weather may cause you to come up short, and you end up staying elsewhere.  That night you plan for the  next days ride. 

If you try to plan the whole trip ahead of time, then the first time you can’t stick to plan, the rest of the plan is out the window. 

I changed my whole route 3 days before I left on my first tour, and I had the ACA overnight me the maps.  I briefly looked at the first map the night before, and then I was out the door the next morning to begin a 3,500 mile tour.

A tip: some TA people overlapped with me on part of my route last summer, and this is what happened to them: Starting out, it was so sweltering hot in the East that they sent all their warm clothes home.  Then when they got to the higher elevations in the West, they were cold, so they found some thrift stores and bought sweatshirts and sweatpants.

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I Love this tent. What sold me on it was its light weight, 2 doors, and a mesh top for viewing the stars or sharing the breeze.

If it's hot, you are going to wish the mesh extended all the way down to the floor.  You won't get any breeze on you with those sidewalls.  In the heat, you want a tent like this:

http://www.rei.com/product/811248/sierra-designs-lightning-ht-2-tent

Nice bike!  The black beauty.  If you want to keep the top tube from getting scratched/dented by the bar end shifters, you need to duck tape(black duck tape!) some foam padding around the top tube where the bar end shifters hit (or buy a top tube protector).

You are going to have a great adventure!  Good luck.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 09:56:50 pm by happyriding »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2011, 10:19:06 am »
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?

I would not have things mailed to you.  Trying to figure out where to have things mailed and then hooking up with them is a major hassle.  You will either get to the town too early and have to wait, or you will get there too late and the mail has been returned to a regional office, or the post office is closed, or you are at the wrong post office.  I had to have some special order tires mailed to me, and I will never do that again. You do not want to have any appointments when living on the road; you want to be able to live life foot loose and fancy free, and go where the wind blows you.   Mechanicals, side trips, detours, and hooking up with other riders are all possibilities that you don't want to have to forego because you have to be at a certain town at a certain time.

There's an art to getting things mailed to you, but I doubt it justifies a blanket ban.

Here's how you work the art: you figure out how fast you're moving, and guess how long it will take the post office to deliver mail.  (Most places in the U.S., that's 3-7 days for first class.)  Pick a small town on your route that's the appropriate number of days ahead of you, and call your trusted mailing agent (parent, spouse, child, friend), and ask them to mail your package.  Preferably the next day, because you'll be a moving target!  Make sure the guesstimmated delivery date is Monday through Friday, and you think you'll arrive during working hours -- call it 9 to 2, just in case.  You want a town that has only one post office, and one that's big enough there's likely to be someone there all through the day.

Your mailing agent will address it:
Your Name
General Delivery
Smalltown, State zip
and mark it, "Please hold for TransAm bicyclist, est. arrival June 22."

If you're on one of the AC routes, their maps include zip codes for every post office.  You can also look up in a post office directory, or on google maps.

If you miss it (you arrive early, or the P.O. is closed), give the postmaster written directions.  In one case, I tore off the bottom of an errata sheet, addressed to Postmaster, and on the inside of the fold wrote, "Please forward my mail to Nexttown, MT" and signed my name.  It made it with no problems.  Again, you'll need to guesstimate delivery times and mileage -- keep your maps handy!

I only completely missed one package.  A couple were right on time, missed one that caught up a couple days later, and one was forwarded twice before I got it.  Small town postmasters were almost always helpful and accomodating (except in Lolo, MT!).

Offline Stevenp

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2011, 10:58:12 am »
Thans Happyriding,

I copy/pasted that info and will use it. I like the "game" of having things sent to me. Perfecting something like that goes with my personality and if I miss it, I'll be creative about it, just as you explain.

thanks!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2011, 12:39:44 pm »
I like the "game" of having things sent to me. Perfecting something like that goes with my personality and if I miss it, I'll be creative about it, just as you explain.

I had film mailed to me constantly for three months along with other treats from friends.  Other memebers of our group also got mail.  It was never a problem.

Try to choose a place where you will be taking a rest day during the week or maybe Saturday to help ensure the post office will be open when you are there.

Try to choose a smaller town.  General delivery mail goes to one post office, so if you have someone mail something to, say, Seattle, you may have to do some travelling to track it down.  Not the case in a smaller town that has only one post office.  My favorite mail story is from Browning, MN, which was a suggested mail stop.  A worker at the post office made a welcome sign for everyone in our group that had mail and hung it on the front door.

Contact the USPS to find out how long they hold general delivery mail.  Back in the day, it used to be two weeks.  That is a pretty big window schedule-wise.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2011, 01:35:04 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.

  I carried my wallet in a sandwich bag, and put it in my cycling jersey rear pocket, and that way it is with me at all times. 
Although I have never had anything fall out of a jersey rear pocket, I would not carry a wallet in one unless I had a zipper on the pocket. If the wallet is lost, you're really in a fix!
 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline kirkej

Re: Cross Country Trip: Money, What To Do?
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2011, 01:50:40 am »
We generally avoid ATM fees by taking extra cash back when making purchases at grocery stores. This costs nothing and you can usually get at least $50 or so each time in this manner. I have not used an ATM in years, touring or otherwise.