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How much cash should I carry while Travelling?

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International trips have become more common than ever. With the rising globalisation and disposable income, more and more people are going on international leisure trips they have always wanted. Thanks to the advent of technology, carrying money while travelling internationally has become easier than ever. With the convenience of global cards, digital payments have become a norm and the best way to carry money while travelling. Carrying digital money helps travellers in various aspects. They have options of zero/low forex charge cards and don’t have to worry about carrying a lot of cash while travelling.

Though having some travel money in the form of cash can come in handy, it’s best to carry a travel card that is safe, convenient and doesn’t charge any forex markup fees. If you carry cash, you are more likely to get targeted by pickpockets and tourist scammers. So instead of always carrying cash with you, it’s best to use an international card to withdraw money from ATMs abroad whenever you want. If you wish to know how to carry cash while travelling abroad, keep reading. 

Things to consider before carrying cash while travelling

The first step while planning a trip abroad is deciding on a budget for travelling. The rest of the procedure follows that first basic step. If you are planning to take cash on your international trip, here are a few essential factors that you need to keep in mind. 

  1. Where to buy it from

    The first thing is to identify where you should buy foreign currency. Many foreign currency exchangers provide the services of buying foreign currency in exchange for Indian rupees—these agents levy currency exchange fees. Banks also offer this service at competitive conversion charges. You can also do an airport currency exchange, but that should be your last option as the conversion charges are higher at the airports. The option of withdrawing from an ATM in a foreign country is also available. However, it will mostly come with an ATM Withdrawal fee. So, it would be best to  compare various options to choose the cheapest one available.

  2. When to buy

    The foreign currency rates are dynamic. Therefore, it is essential to check and be updated about the current foreign currency rates. Always compare the conversion rates of different agents/banks and decide accordingly. If you don’t want to pay any surprise forex markup charges, you can switch to zero forex markup cards like Niyo Global. The real-time currency converter offered in the Niyo Global App provides you with real-time exchange rates of various countries. That means you can check the exchange rates in real-time before making any transaction. This way, you never pay more than you should when handling foreign currency.

  3. Bringing forex back to India

    You may have some foreign currency left while returning from a trip abroad, and you can exchange it for Indian rupees. However, you’ll yet again get charged a currency conversion fee. The other option is to hold on to it for your next trip, or you may wait for the currency rates to go higher and then sell them. You are allowed to bring in foreign exchange in India without a limit, but if the value of the foreign currency in cash exceeds US$ 5,000 or the cash plus Travellers Cheques exceeds US$ 10,000, then you’ll have to fill in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), after arriving in India.

  4. Documents required for getting the foreign exchange

    According to the regulations of the Reserve Bank of India, you need the following documents for foreign exchange.

    • Aadhaar/ Driving License/Voter ID
    • Passport
    • Visa/Ticket
  5. Keeping cash safe

    Now that you are travelling with cash, there is a chance that you may attract pickpockets, so you have to be extra vigilant about keeping your cash safe. There are a few ways to do that, for example, not keeping the entire cash in one place but distributing parts of it in separate places. You can keep it in places least expected, for example, in a book, between your clothes, etc. Also, inform your bank about your travel plans and prepay for your travel expenses, such as accommodation, etc., as much as possible, so you’ll carry less cash.

How much cash is allowed to be carried when travelling overseas? 

The limit for purchasing foreign currency is $3,000 per visit. But it can change according to the country you plan to visit. Here is a table with the names of the country and the acceptable amount of cash you can carry with you.

S.No.Name of the CountryForeign currency in cash
1.Iraq and Libya$5,000 per visit
2.Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation, Republics of Commonwealth of Independent States$2,50,000
3.Haj/Umrah Pilgrimage$2,50,000

Buying foreign currency from banks/ and agents authorised by the RBI is allowed. However, if the rupee equivalent exceeds Rs. 50000, the entire payment needs are made via cross checks or demand drafts, bankers’ cheques, or pay orders.

You can avail of foreign exchange up to US $10,000 a year. However, you must declare all amounts of US $10,000 and above during customs in a foreign country.

What is the ideal amount to carry while travelling abroad?

On average, the ideal amount to carry cash would be $50-$100 per day. According to Pareto’s rule, you should follow the 80-20 rule. Carry only 20% cash from your budget; the remaining 80% should be in a card. There are penalties if you exceed the foreign exchange limit, such as confiscating cash, imposing heavy fines, or arrest and prosecution.

Carrying cash while travelling internationally can be dangerous, especially with the rising number of tourist scams and pickpockets. You don’t want to lose your precious money due to negligence. Plus, it can be very inconvenient to carry cash wherever you go. That is why it is best to get a global card instead of carrying cash. Unlike carrying cash, your global card is a much safer option. If, by chance, you lose your card, you can quickly block the card from the app. If you want to know more reasons why Niyo Global card is preferred over cash, keep reading. 

Why prefer Niyo Global Card over cash?

Carrying cash can be challenging as there is always a threat of theft. Moreover, cash is subject to limits as per a country’s Banking and Financial system. Therefore, carrying limited cash is ideal, and you should rather split the money across various payment options. Niyo Global Card is an international debit card that will help you make payments easily while travelling abroad. The Niyo Global Card is your one-stop travel payment partner, allowing you to make payments in over 150 countries worldwide. Furthermore, you can add money in Indian Rupees, and the card automatically converts it to the local currency of the country you’re travelling to at a 0% forex markup value. The card also has the following features:

  • Free airport lounge access across India
  • Zero forex markup
  • Up to 6.5% interest on your savings with monthly interest payouts
  • Add money in INR and use worldwide, no worries of currency conversion
  • Tap and Pay transactions
  • Quick ATM Locator within the app
  • Handy Currency Converter within the app
  • Customer Service is available in-app 24X7
  • There are no account opening fees
  • Account opening is 100% digital within the Niyo Global app
  • There are no fees for non-maintenance on the Zero Balance Card
  • You can easily add money using UPI/NEFT/IMPS without any charges
  • This app allows you to manage your payment limit across multiple payment channels
  • Realtime updates on the app whenever you make a transaction

Conclusion

The amount of cash you wish to carry also depends on how much the average trip will cost. You must follow the guidelines of the Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI also allows the residents of India to retain foreign exchange up to US $2,000 in the form of currency notes or coins. Otherwise, you must surrender the rest to the bank within 90-180 days of return. These general guidelines will help you figure out the amount of cash you can carry, although a travel card is always a better option.

If you want to avoid paying a forex markup, you can take a travel currency card like the Niyo Global Card. This international travel card offers zero forex markup and works in more than 150 countries. Travelling with a card is always better as it extends the limit for foreign transactions. You also get 24X7 services within the app, thus making the Niyo Global card a convenient option.

FAQ

Q1: How much cash can you carry on a plane?

Answer: You can carry the amount prescribed by RBI, else they may impose a penalty if you don’t. However, if the value of the foreign currency in cash exceeds US$ 5,000 or the cash plus TCs exceeds US$ 10,000, then it should be declared to the authorities at the airport in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF) after returning to India. 

Q2: Can airport security detect money?

Answer: Airport scanners cannot detect money. However, deployed officers can check it.

Q3: Where is the safest place to keep cash?

Answer: You can secure cash in purses and wallets and keep them separately.

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