“Money, money, money…monnnnney! Money!” Sing it with me, everybody!
I know that you’re trying NOT to think too much about it when you’re on vacation, but the reality is that you’re probably spouting cash like water as you travel. Furthermore, you’re spending U.S. dollars (or the equivalent) in a foreign country, with a potentially different payment system, currency, and banking network. Add in the fact that just about everyone you run into working in tourism is jockeying for your business, and pickpockets, thieves, and hackers are all pegging you as an easy target, and it’s hard not to see the potential for a financial snafu or two – at the very least.
Luckily, you have your friends at AllWorld.com looking out for you, ready to give you some sage financial travel advice (and for free!).
Today, we’ll break down some Do’s, Don’ts, and Duh’s when it comes to banking abroad.
1. If you’re frustrated by U.S. “banker’s hours,” get ready to go b-a-n-a-n-a-s overseas, where banks and financial institutions are automatically locked and shuttered for every single national event, public holiday, election, festival, feast, family gathering, religious observance, full moon, soccer win, and birthday party in the entire country. Talk to a local and take a look at your calendar and do your best to plan any trips to the bank (other than the ATM machine)
2. Get ready for some loooooooong wait times at the bank, too. I’ve waited in line four an hour just to get a number so I could wait another couple of hours for my number to be called! Bring a book, your computer to get some work done, or your smartphone with a game or music.
3. When your magic number is called, or you get to the front of the line, be prepared – have all forms filled out (bring your own pen along) and your passport ready (it’s a good idea to keep photocopies of your passport, too, in case they tell you to go next door to get copies and start the whole process over again).
4. By the way, if you don’t know what forms to fill out, it’s ok to skip ahead and ask a bank employee quickly, but the security guard at the front door will usually be able to help you with that.
5. Speaking of security, banks in foreign countries – and especially developing nations – get robbed at gunpoint A LOT more than in the U.S. Due to this, you’ll probably see some serious looking guards standing around with cocked and loaded shotguns or even submachine guns. Don’t freak. They’re there to protect you.
6. To deter robberies, most banks also don’t allow you to wear sunglasses, hats, or anything else that could mask your identity or block your view from the cameras – even at the ATMs!
7. It’s also proper etiquette – and sometimes mandatory – to dress appropriate and decently inside the bank. The rules may differ by country, location, and bank, but some more formal banks (or government and public offices) require you to wear long pants and shoes inside the bank! While that may not always be necessary, don’t dress like you’re lounging at home or at the beach !