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Travel Forums Asia Money....

1. Posted by TKolb325 (Full Member 197 posts) 10y

What is the best way for me to keep my money while travelling SE Asia? Should I have travellers checks, and cash them as I go along? Or will I have to exchange large amounts of money at a time? Or is there easily accesible ATMs that I can use my check card with?

Thanks for any advice!

2. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1595 posts) 10y

Quoting TKolb325

What is the best way for me to keep my money while travelling SE Asia? Should I have travellers checks, and cash them as I go along? Or will I have to exchange large amounts of money at a time? Or is there easily accesible ATMs that I can use my check card with?

Thanks for any advice!

Everyone has an opinion on "how to carry money" with you. I carry cash, traveller's checks and have my credit card available for emergencies only. Most common credit cards like Visa and Master Card are accepted. Wait until you arrive at the country to convert any home currency over to their foreign money - you will get your best legal rate in the country you visit.

ATM's are readily available all over Thailand and available at the airports in Laos and Cambodia. Check with your credit card company to see how much of a FEE they charge per ATM use. In other words, don't make a lot of small ATM withdrawals where the fee may be almost as much as the small amount of money you withdraw. When you take money out of an ATM take out enough money to carry you through several days of expenses.

Some credit unions will sell you traveller's checks without any fees for their members. When you get TC's stick with the largest denominations you can get because the fee for cashing them is on a "per check" basis. In Thailand the fee is 33 baht per TC, around 80 cents U.S. Any excess Thai baht can be exchanged back into your home currency just before you depart the country. The fee for cashing a TC will probably be less than the fee charged when you use an ATM and you don't get any interest to pay when your statement finally arrives.

In Cambodia U.S. dollars can be use for most purchases. Change some dollars over to their currency for really small purchases. Change the Cambodian currency back into dollars or spend it down - after you leave Cambodia it will be hard to change it into anything else useful.

In Laos both U.S. dollars and Thai baht are frequently used for purchases. Change some of your home currency over to Laotian money for small purchases, etc. Like in Cambodia change or spend down their money before you leave Laos or you may be stuck with it.

When you change money over to the local currency in any country don't forget to get some small bills for paying taxi cabs and making small purchases from vendors. Many vendors and small stores may not be able to cash large bills. Thailand is probably the easiest country to navigate in and change money. They have lots of banks all over for changing money.

When you have Travellers Checks you can record the serial numbers in an e-mail to yourself, and save it for easy recall later on. You can also save lots of important stuff you don't want to forget on the internet in an e-mail to your self. I save my itineraries for my flights and the airline reference numbers. Lots of internet shops in Thailand.

Use the security boxes provided by the hotels for safeguarding your money and valuables, don't leave the key to the safety box out in plain site in your hotel room. Have locks available and lock your bags when you are asleep or out of your rooms. Don't bring any valuables from home that you would really miss if they became stolen or lost.

Have fun.

3. Posted by larondey (Full Member 105 posts) 10y

I used to have the problem of being killed with fees using ATM machines in foreign countries. Since Fleet Bank became Bank of America, these fees have changed (and I prefer the fee structure of BofA to that of Fleet). I used to be charged $5.00 per ATM use with Fleet and now I'm only charged 1% with BofA and no terminal use fees. For example, I took out 100 euros at an ATM in Paris, FR. My account had 2 withdrawals: 1 for $119.70 and another for $1.20.

I know this answer only applies to people from the USA, but I'm sure these two ways of dealing with overseas ATM fees apply to other banks around the world.

James