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Money Matters

Set yourself a daily budget and your money will take you further. For longer trips regularly check your bank balance. If you haven’t, sign up to online banking. It’ll be much less stressful than trying to find an ATM when you can simply check your phone.

Insist on low denomination notes when changing money to avoid ‘sorry no change’ from taxi drivers and market traders.

If travelling where haggling is the norm, the prices given to visitors are often extremely bumped up; aiming to pay just 10-20% of the original price isn’t crazy, and think about walking away. You’ll be amazed how many traders will call you back if they think they’ve lost a sale.

Sometimes fake – and real – Police will demand your passport/visa and find something, which can only be solved or handed back with a cash fine, right then, to them. Being firm and offering to go with them to the station will often see the ‘error’ forgiven.

There is a basic rule for not getting ripped of approach don’t be approached. On a resent trip to Colombo I was approached by an auto rickshaw driver who charged me 800 rupees for a journey. On the way back I approached an elderly laid back rickshaw driver who gave me a toothless grin for free and charged me 200 rupees.

When travelling to India always get a prepaid taxi before leaving the airport. The bit of paper you will receive will ensure a hassle free fare priced trip to your destination. Just make sure that it is clear you are paying the amount for the taxi not per person and piece of luggage.

When you first arrive in a new country a new currency can be confussing and lead to over spending. Round up or down for quick conversion in the first few days for safety.