Problems with International ATMs While Backpacking and How to Protect Yourself

I seldom talk to a backpacker who has not had money issues while traveling, particularly if they are a seasoned traveler with multiple trips under their belt. I’m no different. Among the common problems I’ve experienced and hear about from other travelers:

I’ve now undertaken 7 trips abroad and have a few tips as to how to protect yourself from these problems:

  1. Make sure that you have at least two bank accounts with DIFFERENT institutions. It goes without saying that there should be at least some reserve in your backup account, I’d recommend somewhere in the $500 range.
  2. Especially for those doing extended trips, ensure that you can transfer money from your primary account to your backup account via online banking.
  3. Travel with a friend when possible as a safety measure. The chances are slim that two people will both have money problems at the same time, so traveling with a friend is always a good safety net.
  4. Carry large amounts of cash. This can be dangerous in the event that you get robbed (it can happen), but will provide some peace of mind that you won’t run dry on funds.

I personally carry a Bank of America debit card, two bank of America credit cards, and a Charles Schwab debit card as my backup while traveling abroad — though there are no transaction fees on my Schwab card, so I’m thinking about making that my primary account going forward.

Have you experiences ATM problems on the travel trail? How do you protect yourself from getting stuck in a bad situation without any cash on hand?

And if you’re just plain broke while on the travel trail — well, these tips won’t really help you. Phone your parents or a close friend and ask for some extra funds…or stop where you are and try to find a job.

Independence Day Party in Santorini

The folks at Beach Bar are throwing an Independence Day Party for us Americans currently on Santorini. We have 19 registered participants on Facebook already and I’m completely stoked! Here’s the description of the party on Facebook:

Start Time: Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 4:00pm
End Time: Monday, July 5, 2010 at 4:00am
Location: Beach Bar Perissa Beach

THE OFFICIAL AMERICATHON DAY!!

ALL DAY PARTY FROM 16.00PM!!!! LIVE REGGAE BAND FROM 17.00PM
SPECIAL PRICE ON DRAFT BEER, JELLO SHOTS, AMERICAN ANTHEMS, BEER BONGS, FIREWORKS AND MORE………………
THE ONLY PLACE TO PARTY

ALL SUNBEDS FREE!!!!!!

If you happen to be in Santorini right now, come on by!

Group of Uruguay Fans in Santorini Celebrating their Victory over Ghana

A group of us were watching the Ghana-Uruguay game last night at Meltemi, a bar here in Santorini that plays English commentary for all the World Cup games. Across the way at Grandma’s, a small restaurant that sells primarily gyros, a huge group of Uruguay fans had congregated to watch the game. They were loud every step of the way, but their celebration when the game was decided for good was a pretty memorable experience. Seeing celebrations like this is part of what traveling is all about. I didn’t stay out after the game last night, but I could hear hooting and hollering all night from my balcony a few blocks away. Below is a minute long video I recorded from my camera of their victory celebration:

Regardless of how cool it was to see the celebration in person, I’m with David Gibbons when he said on Facebook “I don’t care what the scoreboard says; Ghana won. Shame on Uruguay.” The blantant handball in the 120th minute was a shame to see (you can see that handball on the HuffingtonPost if you missed it).

Welcome to Oh Hey World, A Blog Devoted to Backpacking and Travel for Gen X & Y

We’re excited to say that Oh Hey World is now live! For now, Oh Hey World is a multi-author backpacking and travel blog focused on Generation X & Y with the goal of connecting those who share a passion for traversing the globe and providing valuable information to those travelers. But let’s be clear from the outset, Oh Hey World is going to be much more than just a multi-author backpacking blog in the long run. There are so many players in the travel industry, yet in our minds the backpacking niche is one that has not been solved by anyone. Backpacking should be simpler and more social — and that’s what we’re going to set out to do. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re confident if we build what backpackers want and enable a more social experience for those on the travel trail, we’ll succeed. If you have ideas or suggestions for us related to what you’d like to see from a website devoted to backpackers and their ventures throughout the world, leave them for us in the suggestions section of the Oh Hey World forum.

What type of content can you expect to see here on Oh Hey World? Reviews of destinations such as Paris, Hong Kong, Cinque Terre, and Santorini (which happens to be where I am right now) from a backpackers perspective. Stories about what backpacking and traveling has meant to people and how experiencing foreign cultures have changed people’s lives for the better. First hand experiences from those who have lived abroad and immersed themselves in the local scene. The funniest experiences people have had while traveling the globe. Travel and life insights from wondering nomads (such as myself) who make their money online with nothing more than a laptop. Anything relevant to a backpacker is fair game for this blog.

I’m a firm believer in the importance of understanding the “why” behind any decision. So, why are Andrew Mattie and I starting Oh Hey World? With my passion for traveling and blogging, I’ve been wanting to start a travel blog for quite some time. Particularly since I’m on the traveling trail for the foreseeable future, there’s no better time than now to do it since I’m interacting with other backpackers on a daily basis. And, as I stated earlier in this post, I don’t think any player in the backpacking niche has truly built a fantastic experience online for backpackers. I understand the basics of code and can hack things together in WordPress, but I’m by no means a developer and I wanted to do this project with someone who can handle all the technical components of the site so I can focus on the business side of the equation. I’ve known Andrew for close to 4 years and he’s a fantastic developer, extremely self motivated, and passionate about what he does, which is exactly what I’m looking for in a business partner. Additionally, those who know me know I’m extremely passionate about helping others. Luckily, and not unintentionally, I found a business partner (and close friend) in Andrew who feels the same as I do that life should be about more than simply making money. Oh Hey World will be a socially conscious business and donate 10% of all advertising revenue to charities.

We have a few things up our sleeve, and will certainly post updates as we make improvements and changes and build the core Oh Hey World feature set. Remember, if you have ideas or suggestions for us, be sure to leave them in our backpacking forum or in the comments here. We’re all ears on what needs to be improved to get the most out of your backpacking and travel experiences!

We’re looking forward to this journey and look forward to meeting – virtually or in person – many of the thousands upon thousands of backpackers traveling the globe!

Exploring the Wild Blue Yonder