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Money.

Travel Forums Asia Money.

1. Posted by JennyDaks (Budding Member 13 posts) 2y

Hey!

So I was wondering how did people who have been to SE Asia sort out funds?
Did you get a Caxcton card or something better?

Need some help =]

2. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1653 posts) 2y

Cash always works. (Don't bother with lots of small denominations, go with largest to cut down on bulk.) Downside is that if you intend to stay in lousy, cheap shared dorms without safety boxes that could be risky. Carrying every cent with you when you are out and about also is risky! Bank or credit union debit cards work. You must notify your bank that you will be overseas before you leave home. That way when withdrawals come from "somewhere" in Asia they don't first suspect fraud! There is a fee to obtain cash from an ATM so take out the maximum. (Maximum depends on the ATM you use and the limit your own bank puts on your daily withdrawal.)

In Thailand travelers checks work pretty good too. They get a little more than ordinary cash exchanges. Other countries less easy to cash a travelers check but usually not impossible. Don't bother with smaller travelers check denominations. Stick with the largest sizes you can get. In Thailand there is a fee to cash a TC so don't waste it on low value checks.

In Thailand there are many banks and smaller bank kiosks available all over where tourists are common. Often in the big cities they have good hours too. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok has bank money changers available 24 hours. For most foreign currencies you get a better rate in Thailand than changing in other countries.

Have a credit card available for emergencies that may come up. (Do not rely on a single debit or cash card for your spending money. Lose that card, have it stolen or damaged you are out of money!)

I prefer to use a hotel or guesthouse that has a safety box or safe. However, if you invite "random" guests to visit your hotel room they could walk off with cash, cell phone, computer, jewelry that you leave in plain sight. If you leave the room make sure your valuables are locked up!

Do a forum search for similar questions. Different countries have their own peculiar ways of changing foreign currency. I think Thailand does pretty good for tourists compared to some of the nearby countries! Some remote areas may not have ATM's or be able to change travelers checks. So load up ahead of time! For Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam DO NOT leave those countries with their local currency. No one else wants it! (Do a Google search for the countries you intend to visit. Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam US dollars are a de facto currency.)

I have never used a Caxton card. My cards from my hometown bank and credit unions work okay overseas, they are free of annual charges and have low fees.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-May-2014, at 12:31 by karazyal ]

3. Posted by MarcoPolo89 (Full Member 159 posts) 2y

I used my CaxtonFX card in SE Asia last year and I definitely recommend it. There's no withdrawal or loading fees, just their commission on the exchange rate - it's the best I could find on any comparison websites (except a couple which had many complaints about technical difficulties, which you don't get with Caxton). If you lose it, they send you one out really quickly too.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-May-2014, at 12:57 by Olliwog44 ]

4. Posted by JennyDaks (Budding Member 13 posts) 2y

Thanks! All this information has been awesome.

I think I'm looking into getting a travel card, either Claxton or Travelex.
Still unsure between the two.

5. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1653 posts) 2y

Don't rely only on a single source of spending money. Lose or damage your card you will be inconvenienced even if they do send a replacement!

6. Posted by Borisborough (Respected Member 458 posts) 2y

Except for Burma where you have to have crisp, new US dollars, we've always used our own bank debit cards and drawn money out from ATMs in SE Asia. We still carry credit cards, one hundred US dollars (the same note for four years) and one hundred or so NZ dollars just in case but the debit cards have always been sufficient. Although there is a withdrawal fee, the exchange rate is far better than money changers and fx at banks so we find it the ideal way to carry money. My wife takes her cards too so if one gets lost or swallowed, we have a back-up.

7. Posted by JennyDaks (Budding Member 13 posts) 2y

Well I was thinking of taking a back up card & keeping them both separate so if one got lost I'd be alright.