It was a typical humid day in Bali until it suddenly wasn't. I was running a little low on cash so I walked to the ATM across the street from my hotel. I inserted my card, entered my pin and waited.... and waited... and waited some more. Nothing was happening so I tried cancelling the transaction. That didn't work either. No cash and no card. Perfect situation to be in while traveling. To make things even more perfect, that was the last card I had since my credit card went missing a few weeks prior and American Express wouldn't ship a replacement internationally.
Bitcoin to the rescue?
Bitcoin was on its way to the moon when my unfortunate situation occurred. I remembered seeing a Bitcoin trading business while exploring the area so I thought that was I was going to be rescued. I planned on selling enough Bitcoin to last me a month while I waited for my friend to send a replacement card. I arrived to the trading shop and was informed that I was unable to open an account because of a new regulation in the US. Bummer. Now what?
Cashless in Cambodia
A day after my failed attempt at selling Bitcoin for cash, I was off to Cambodia. I had $50 in my wallet and needed to figure something out or I'd be down to zero within a couple days. Can't buy much with zero bucks, ya know? I landed in Cambodia and was greeted with an unexpected $30 visa fee. It was my own fault for not looking up the visa requirements so I didn't feel bad for myself. Just the anticipated feeling of hunger.
ALWAYS look up visa requirements when visiting a country. I ran into an issue traveling to New Zealand because I didn't look up requirements, but I'll save that for another post. Until then, learn from my mistakes.
After leaving the airport with a couple five dollar bills and a ten, I was on my way to my Airbnb. On the way there, I passed a Western Union. I've never used their service before so I went inside and asked how I could receive money from myself. I filled out a form, paid a ridiculous amount in fees and waited an hour for the transfer from my bank account to come through. The fees were enough for me to live off of for two weeks so it's a situation I recommend avoiding and something I'll never experience again.
Travel with two wallets
To avoid experiencing the joy of being cashless while traveling, I now bring two wallets. Both have credit cards and a debit card. I put one in my main luggage that stays at the hotel and the other one in my backpack. I also have cards on my phone's wallet since it's becoming a popular way to pay around the world. I'd recommend doing the same...
If you visit Cambodia, pick up a new pair of pants at one the local markets. When I binge watch Schitt's Creek, I put on my pants from Cambodia and it's game over. Goodbye, productivity. Hello, max relaxation.