As a first time traveler and lone female I am in need of some suggestions.
With all the credit card fraud and not to mention bunch of different fees/interest i'm thinking emergency only. What is the safest way for me to carry around my funds?
What really are the odds of getting robbed?? haha
I don't plan on being drunken idiot.
Should i really just lock up my pack and attach it to something immobile in the hostel (of course with no valuables)?
Just a money belt with some USD should be fine - after all, where are you going to keep that credit card to keep it safe? I actually have a money belt that usually ends up in my day-pack which will always be hanging around my neck and resting on my belly in crowds. Many people hit ATMS, I myself carry most of my cash in a safe place.
As for your pack - lock it as you like, someone once suggested taping the zipper shut and putting your signature on it . . . I think that' s a little overkill. I've never got anything super valuable or irreplaceable in my bag so I just leave it in my room. Otherwise you can lock it in the closet of a guesthouse sometimes. I don't do dorm or shared rooms though - and if there was anyone I'd be concerned about going through my bag it'd be some hippie who is running out of money on his spirit journey.
Robberies are not common and you should be worried about that if you just have a sensible approach.
There is plenty of information on this site and forum about money strategies but to summarize it shortly for you:
Most people prefer a mixed strategy which means 2-4 forms of carrying money around.
- Cash. Always good to have cash around but don't make it ridiculous amounts. It's useless to have huge sums in cash and makes for uncomfortable travelling. Most people carry constantly a few hundred dollars (or local equivalent) of cash at any given moment. $50-100 in their wallet and few hundred in their money belt
- ATM card. Major and medium cities in SEA have ATM machines and in general fees are less than when you withdraw with credit card. Nowadays most people rely mostly on their ATM card for bulk of their money.
- Credit Card. For emergencies most of the time and/or big sinlge purchases
- Traveller cheques. A bit old fashioned but still useful to have a sum in traveller cheques. A few hundred dollars for emergencies should be fine.
Amounts depend off course on how long you travel for. Keep the money and cards in separate places. If one gets lost or stolen your backup(s) should be enough to keep you happily going.
I personally find it a lot easier to travel with small sums rather than carrying huge sums around. Ok, you'll loose some money with transaction fees or exchange rates but to me that's better than looking over your shoulder every day.
You're doing this trip to enjoy yourself and paying $100 or so on fees is a small price to pay for that. Travelling around with Fort Knox on your back will not make your trip more enjoyable