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Cash while Touring

Old 04-06-13, 08:08 PM
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Brian@PedalBIG
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Cash while Touring

Folks -- later this month I take off for a month long tour on the southern tier. This will be the longest single tour I've taken. My question relates to how much cash to take on tour. Obviously, I plan on using credit cards where possible, but I'm a little at a loss with exactly how much actual cash to take. Would you recommend minimizing the cash, since most places will more than likely take a credit card? Any assistance you experienced cycling tourists could provide would be appreciated.

Brian
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Old 04-06-13, 08:32 PM
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$5/day for misc small purchases. Rest by cc. Replenish at an atm. The itemized cc bill makes for a good document/reminder of places you engaged on the tour. I print my journaled tours and sometimes insert the itemized bill as part of the record of my tour. The prices/items will make interesting reading for future generations. I call the printed journals my stab at immortality
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Old 04-06-13, 09:18 PM
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A lot depends on how you are traveling. For instance, if you are camping in NFS campsites cash is easier ($15 as some do not accept CCs as a form of payment), stopping for a snack and drink at a CS twice a day ($5), small meals (under $10, I pay cash). Most other stuff, i.e. larger meals, groceries, motels, RV parks, etc. I can use a CC however, sometimes I get a pretty good discount if paying in cash. You might consider stashing some cash in your bags, handlebars, etc. in case you lose your wallet.

have a great trip!
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Old 04-06-13, 10:56 PM
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Have maybe $100 with you ... some places don't accept credit cards.

Use a debit card to top that up as necessary as you go along.
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Old 04-06-13, 11:16 PM
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A debit card works wonders just about any where.
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Old 04-07-13, 12:56 AM
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back in the day we had Amex Travelers Checks, In the Money Belt..

I kept the debit card in there too, did a little strip show for the Bank staff while I dug it out..

Balance Inc exchange rate costs,?.. just had to stay in one place,
while a Bank statement was mailed, back then,,
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Old 04-07-13, 01:01 AM
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Travelers Checks went the way of the dinosaur back in the mid-1980s.
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Old 04-07-13, 06:30 AM
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at least a couple hundred...........what do you do in kermit texas, 200 miles from the
nearest atm, the local hotel/restaurant/bar/tire-center doesn't take plastic. just sew a
secret pouch into your h-bar bag or one of your panniers.
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Old 04-07-13, 06:38 AM
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+1 on not carrying large amounts of cash on you. Use a credit or debt card at ATMs along the way. It is also a good idea to see if your bank has any branches along the way. Carry the contact numbers for your credit/debt card separately (not just on the card and in your cell phone) so that if you do get robbed you can at least shut the cards down.
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Old 04-07-13, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Have maybe $100 with you ... some places don't accept credit cards.

Use a debit card to top that up as necessary as you go along.
This is pretty much my standard MO on a regular basis and I travel for a living. I have had cards "not work", gotten cash discounts, and paid cash for things that I would not want traced on a credit card.

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Old 04-07-13, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Have maybe $100 with you ... some places don't accept credit cards.

Use a debit card to top that up as necessary as you go along.
This ^^^^

I use a debit card where I can which is most of the time, but there are still places that much prefer or even require cash. BTW, in some places it is a good idea to have some small bills to pay for campsites that use an honor box.
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Old 04-07-13, 07:26 AM
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Cash while Touring

I always try to take out cash from an ATM when the bank it's attached to is open. i.e not on a friday evening in a small town in the middle of nowhere... ;/ They can just "eat" your card for no reason
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Old 04-07-13, 07:28 AM
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Ditto the small bills for campsites. Ditto the $100 or so for the emergency motel stay in a violent storm and the phone lines are down, no credit card approvals, and they will give you a good discount for cash (no, I'm not making that up). Ditto the debit card to replenish cash--the USPS will give you $100, some large grocery stores, $200. And ditto the credit card bills for itemizing expenses later on. Pretty much ditto everything above.
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Old 04-07-13, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
at least a couple hundred...........what do you do in kermit texas, 200 miles from the
nearest atm, the local hotel/restaurant/bar/tire-center doesn't take plastic. just sew a
secret pouch into your h-bar bag or one of your panniers.
Most grocery stores give cash ... buy your night's groceries, pay with the debit card, ask for $50 cash.

At least, that's the case in many/most places in Canada and Australia ... maybe that's not the case in the US??
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Old 04-07-13, 09:35 AM
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Pretty much If you can buy the groceries, [or stamps and ship stuff at the Post office]
and you can pay with a Debit card, the cashier can add cash, over , to you.

(ATM's and etc, are more increments of $20, so 20,40, 60, vs $50)

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-07-13 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 04-07-13, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Most grocery stores give cash ... buy your night's groceries, pay with the debit card, ask for $50 cash.

At least, that's the case in many/most places in Canada and Australia ... maybe that's not the case in the US??

Yes Machka, it is the same in the U.S., at least as far as I have traveled. $20, $40, $60 not a problem in most places, it's there on the little thingie where you swipe the card.

Is there really a reason to carry more than $75 or $100? I haven't carried even that much on my limited excursions. It's a matter of what you are comfortable with, I suppose. These days with credit and debit cards making purchases so easy and the digital foot print that it leaves, is advantageous in several respects. Understanding that the comfort level is not the same for everyone. I want to think that touring cyclist are not carrying much cash, and would like for the rest of the world to know that.
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Old 04-07-13, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Most grocery stores give cash ... buy your night's groceries, pay with the debit card, ask for $50 cash.

At least, that's the case in many/most places in Canada and Australia ... maybe that's not the case in the US??
Works in the US...that is how I get my weekly allowance out. No fees that way either

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Old 04-07-13, 12:19 PM
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DW99
Is there really a reason to carry more than $75 or $100? I haven't carried even that much on my limited excursions. It's a matter of what you are comfortable with, I suppose. These days with credit and debit cards making purchases so easy and the digital foot print that it leaves, is advantageous in several respects. Understanding that the comfort level is not the same for everyone. I want to think that touring cyclist are not carrying much cash, and would like for the rest of the world to know that.
That is about all we ever carry in cash, but I also carry a little backup in my patchkit.


Last edited by Doug64; 04-07-13 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 04-07-13, 12:45 PM
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It leaves at 1:00 tomorrow night, here from the end of the Medina. Third boat...and remember, bring 15,000 francs - in cash.

so in other words, 15k should be safe.

(you just know they got rolled)

this public message brought to you by Warner Bros.
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Old 04-07-13, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Have maybe $100 with you ... some places don't accept credit cards.

Use a debit card to top that up as necessary as you go along.
I agree, and most grocery stores etc. will add small cash amounts onto your debit card payment if you ask.
I also carry 2 credit cards in case one gets compromised. (either canceled or eaten by a machine)
It's also wise not to store everything all in one place.
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Old 04-07-13, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
at least a couple hundred...........what do you do in kermit texas,
Get cash at the Allsup's on 115.
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Old 04-07-13, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Most grocery stores give cash ... buy your night's groceries, pay with the debit card, ask for $50 cash.

At least, that's the case in many/most places in Canada and Australia ... maybe that's not the case in the US??
That works in the US as well.
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Old 04-07-13, 02:31 PM
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Travelers Checks went the way of the dinosaur back in the mid-1980s
(So? .. I am 65, after all)
yea, but they still refunded them all, as guaranteed, after someone picked the pocket,
in the airport ..


Here, if the benefit of Social Security, pays out to you a lump sum ,
That Sum accrued while the application is processed,
you have to spend down that amount for the benefit to continue..

Traveler's Checks was the Perfect 'Spend Down" ..

BTW,< I got a tunnel pocket sewn across the back of a mesh singlet, as a base layer
money belt stays in the pocket , so waist belt doesn't have to hold it up.

got one of Ortlieb's Money Belts , stuff stays dry in it while I sweat in my raingear.

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-07-13 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 04-08-13, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Lew View Post
I agree, and most grocery stores etc. will add small cash amounts onto your debit card payment if you ask.
I also carry 2 credit cards in case one gets compromised. (either canceled or eaten by a machine)
It's also wise not to store everything all in one place.
I am more inclined to not think of my stash of cash as being at least X number of dollars, instead I try to carry at a minimum four or five days of anticipated expenses and a maximum of maybe two weeks of expenses. Thus, if your are spending less you need less cash. And you are likely going to go past an ATM in three or four days of travel.

In small communities you are more likely to be in small owner operated restaurants, camps and some grocers and they often prefer cash because they have to pay high fees for credit card transactions. But in bigger communities I generally use credit card for everything except fast food or at ATMs because credit cards are more widely accepted in large communities than in rural small businesses.

My one debit card, it only gets used in ATM machines, all of my other plastic transactions are credit cards. I never use credit cards in ATMs due to high fees, but I have PIN numbers for one or two credit cards in event my debit card stopped working and I needed emergency cash advance with a credit card.
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Old 04-08-13, 09:59 AM
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i think people are dismissing how big of an issue it would be if your credit card and ATM card stopped working. Bad things happen and you can't just go home and wait for the bank to handle any issues.

I carry about $100 concealed somewhere in my day pack that I always have with me but don't spend. In addition to that I like to have about $50 on me for little purchases and campsites. I also carry a CC and ATM card in different places.
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