Money: Ask Sindie: Getting Funds in a Flash to Gap-Year Travellers ; Your Money Problems Solved
My daughter is going to spend nine months travelling the world and I'm concerned about how best to get money to her if she runs into trouble.
Although she will visit what I consider safe countries, like Australia and Japan, she will also be going to South Africa, Chile and other parts of South America. She'll have traveller's cheques and credit cards but, in a dire scenario, I will feel better if I know I can get emergency cash to her.
Peace of mind while a loved one is overseas comes at a price, but you can keep a lid on the cost.
First, forget about sending a cheque in an emergency. The intricate and often haphazard nature of international postal services could mean your daughter waits an age for the money to arrive.
The Royal Mail's website says it takes an average of 4.1 days for an airmail letter to arrive in Johannesburg or 3.5 days to Melbourne, yet a company spokesman concedes that you should really allow at least a week for post to reach its destination. And if your daughter is hundreds of miles from a big city, it may take a lot longer to arrive.
Worse, she could discover that a cheque based on your personal account might not be accepted at the overseas bank or require more time for the funds to clear.
If you insist on mailing paper, consider a banker's draft - a cheque sent in your bank's name (with money debited from your account). Written in the currency for the designated country, it will have more authority than a personal cheque. NatWest charges two flat fees - pounds 8 for a draft up to pounds 100 or pounds 18 for any sum above this.
However, like a personal cheque, a banker's draft will still be at the mercy of international postal systems. Don't forget too that, in both cases, your daughter will usually have to open a bank account in her host nation to access the funds.
Far better, then, to send your emergency money by electronic transfer, by which cash can be wired to the other side of the world for collection within 10 minutes.
To pick it up, your daughter will need at least one form of ID, usually a passport or driving licence. …