Cash and Risk Management


Credit cards are accepted in major cities around the world just about everywhere.

You can even use them in market towns in many countries at the main hotels and some restaurants.

But in most developing countries, once you leave the main cities you will need to use cash for everything from fuel to food. Thus, cash management becomes an issue.

Before you leave:

In Flight

When you arrive:

Leaving Your Hotel

Waiting For Godot

The next step is to begin the vigil for your vehicle arriving at the port and clearing customs. Make yourself comfortable, this will be a long wait.

There will be multiple changes of schedule, you will be told many different stories, some quite creative, there will be additional delays, everything will happen tomorrow, and there will be unexpected costs.

Stay patient, stay relaxed and keep focused on the only goal that matters: eventually your expedition will begin.

While you are waiting you need to build up enough cash to pay your customs broker and the other charges, fees, payoffs, etc.

Your ATM card will have a daily withdrawl limit and that limit will probably be a lot lower than the amount you will need to get your vehicle out of customs. Start making daily withdrawls to build up this amount.

Preparing for the Bush

Once you get your vehicle you will need enough cash to get you out there, sustain you while you're there, and get you to the next market town or ATM location.

You will use the same strategy as when you built up cash for getting the vehicle out of customs.
In addition to the cash, you also need to stock up on something even more important: local knowledge.

Now is the time to buy some locals a few beers and start learning about the realities, or at least the local urban legends, of your destinations.

It is critically important to get multiple inputs regarding your plans. It is very common to hear diametrically opposed, strongly held opinions about the exact same place or route.

An investment in hiring a tested and proven local guide for multiple map / route / schedule / weather / etc. sessions is a very good idea.

Another good idea is to hire the same local guide for a test loop. Once you get your vehicle, take it out into the bush for a short trip to test all the systems, and more importantly, all of your assumptions.

Lastly, before you head out, obtain any locally available route guides, paper maps and GPS maps that are only available in that market.