Paying your way electronically is easy when you’re travelling in a caravan. But where populations are sparse and telecommunications limited, cases of cash or no sale exist. And given the distances we travel, you won’t always find another vendor down the road. Thankfully, a few simple back-up plans will keep you financial on the go.
ALWAYS CARRY EMERGENCY CASH
There are great incentives for businesses to transact electronically but where telecommunications infrastructure is patchy, it’s not guaranteed. Carrying a few hundred dollars in emergency cash can save the day whether you’re venturing off the beaten track deliberately or when plans simply go astray.
PREPARING FOR EVENTS
At events and farmers’ markets hosted outside of mobile range, cash is king. Don’t get wrong, event organisers do their best to provide communal ATM facilities but they can fail on the ground—so it’s best to cash up before you go. Some hosts will actually offer to bus you into town to ATM facilities but why dog-house it on the Greyhound if can you plan ahead?
COINS FOR CAMPS
Accessing change for coin-operated laundries is easy at the local caravan park. But you’ll probably need to bring your own to use coin-operated showering facilities in drought-prone areas—particularly at an unmanned campground. What’s more, coins let you support the upkeep of community-run services for the next time you return.
AUSTRALIA’S ATM NETWORK
More than 330,000 fixed ATMs exist in Australia with a third owned by the four major banks. And this is great news if you’re spending from your savings account. Extracting money from a credit card via an ATM attracts high interest and tremendous fees. Therefore, weigh up the alternatives if you’re racking up loyalty points or planning to travel on credit.
OVER-THE-COUNTER BANKING OPTIONS
Sadly, you cannot out travel bills. Where paying online isn’t feasible over-the-counter services do help. If there’s no participating bank nearby, try Bank@Post at more than 3,500 Post Offices nationwide (including 1,800 rural and remote regions). Services include over-the-counter withdrawal, deposit and balance enquiries on accounts compatible with more than 60 participating financial institutions.
MANAGING MONEY BETWEEN FRIENDS
Splitting bills between co-travellers or purchasing services from an irregular seller? Consider a third party payment service. Services like Osko are easy to use and are usually offered in conjunction with your own financial institution. PayPal offers instant transactions to frequent users but may hold onto funds for a few weeks so take care.
BOOSTING YOUR SERVICES
Improving your existing internet infrastructure helps you to manage finances on the road. Telstra customers can opt for ‘Blue Tick’ mobile handset, tested under trying conditions to deliver the best possible coverage in rural regions. Consider a mobile phone and broadband bolt-on antenna kit for your rig.
If access to your mobile phone service is limited, remember, transferring funds is still plausible via phone banking where land-lines exist. And if you’re planning to phone bank outside mobile coverage, locate one 16,000 Telstra Pay Phones here. Telstra plans to offer Wi-Fi and USB station at some sites. Business owners truly stuck may prefer to bank via a sat-phone.
SENSITIVE MAIL AT HOME
Most institutions offer sophisticated online services in lieu of paper bills and statements on request. Mail redirection services can capture any remaining financially-sensitive mail. A professional mail forwarding service will happily post out your paper mail to wherever you’re travelling although many travellers prefer to redirect their mail to a trusted friend.