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Money In Asia

Travel Forums Asia Money In Asia

1. Posted by philymc (Budding Member 10 posts) 9y

Me and my Girlfriend are off to asia for 6 weeks in twelve days. We are visiting the following countries.
Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore.
We are unsure on how we should take our money away with us.
Should we take travellers cheques?
Leave it in the bank and hope the ATM machines work for us?
Take Cash?

Any advice help would be greatly appreciated.

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Philymc

U could take a stash of cash in US dollars, along with your ATM card.
That is what I would do. But, as far as I know, ATMs are widespread, especially in cities.
Keep all cash, in a money belt, inside your clothes. Dont leave it in a safe, unless u have your own pad lock. And dont leave it in your guesthouse room.
Credit cards are also good. But be careful where u use them. Only in big international hotels and places like that. Credit card fraud is common, in some places in SE Asia. Also, u may have the nuisance of the credit card people stopping your card, because they suspect fraud, when it is being used in Asia. U will then need to phone, to have it reinstated.
Dont consider the following as advise, because it may not be considered wise. I carry cash, rather than travellers cheques and hope for the best. I think if travellers cheques are stolen, having them replaced would probably be such a nuisance, that they would not be worth it.

Mel

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 9y

Phil,
Mel gave you some good tips. Make it very difficult to steal from you. Passport, cards, money, air tickets should be under your clothes, out of sight. Have daily money in your travel bag or pockets. Divide up your stash as well. Have your GF carry the airline tickets, ATM & credit cards under her clothes. You have the cash & TC under your clothes. Think safety at all times. Being a victim of theft will really put a damper on your holiday.

I take travel checks, cash and an ATM card. Don't put all your eggs in one basket is good advice. Use the ATMs in Singers, Malaysia, Thailand, then switch to travel checks or cash in Cambodia, VN.

PM me if you have any questions on Asia.

4. Posted by mdancy (Full Member 104 posts) 9y

I agree with the others. Carry a variety of payment options. US dollars, ATM card - make sure it has Cirrus / Plus access, credit card(s), travelers checks. Split it up, like they said. NEVER leave it in your room or your luggage (though I have done it, still it is risky). Do not carry shoulder bags as they are easily snatched. Find a way to carry stuff under your clothes - sew a secret pocket inside your pants. Given all that - just use your ATM card to pull out cash in the local currency as the places you mention all have easy ATM access unless you are planning to leave the major tourist spots - then plan ahead to have plenty of local currency. If you go to Laos - they DO NOT have ATMs no matter what anyone tells you. Even if you see one, it likely does not work or does not have cash in it. Laos will take your US dollars and give you change in Kipp. Cambodia will also take US dollars. Just remember before you leave one country and go to the next that you should use up, or exchange it back because the further from a border you get the harder it is to exchange - then you are left with wads of cash tied up in foreign currency. Like me.

Have fun,
Martha

5. Posted by ghostdog (Full Member 142 posts) 9y

I agree- carry greenbacks, down with TC's. Another thing to be aware of is that some machines only allow 4 number pin codes.

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1586 posts) 9y

Quoting philymc

Me and my Girlfriend are off to asia for 6 weeks in twelve days. We are visiting the following countries.
Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore.
We are unsure on how we should take our money away with us.
Should we take travellers cheques?
Leave it in the bank and hope the ATM machines work for us?
Take Cash?

Any advice help would be greatly appreciated.

Yep, take a little of each. You can also put some money into a credit union where you can use their debit card for ATM withdrawals. My credit union pays some of the fees that ATMs charge. With a debit card there is no interest too! Many credit unions often sell travelers checks without any fees, another way to save money.

I only stay in hotels that have INDIVIDUAL security boxes, sometimes (like in the Philippines) this means spending more than I want. I just don't feel comfortable walking around with thousands of dollars in a money belt. Some travelers put so much money in a money belt (or passport pouch) that that they stick out from under their clothes so much that it looks like you have some sort of tumor growth! If I was a thief I would go for the guy with the "growth!"

You can record the serial numbers of travelers checks on the internet by writing the info in an email to yourself and saving it. Other important stuff can be saved on the net too, like flight itineraries, flight confirmation numbers, important telephone/emergency contact numbers - just about anything you must recall in an emergency. Sometimes when I have a lot of hundred dollar bills I also record those serial numbers on the "net too! At least if I get ripped off i can identify some of the money that is missing! Lots of cheap internet shops are all over these counties!

Watch the ATM fees! Some cards have real high ATM fees when used overseas! Make sure you have a back-up credit or debit card in case the first card is damaged or stolen. Check with your credit card provider to see what your fees will be. Don't use credit cards all over the place for cheap purchases. I only use debit cards for cash from ATMs and I take out the max I can to cut down on fees.

(There are very few times when I have felt the need to wear a money belt, I keep that belt at my back, between my pants and underwear. At least this way I didn't have a huge bulge in the wrong place. Just put the big important 100 Euro or !00 dollar bills there so that it isn't so bulky, keep smaller size bills in different places. Don't flash big bills in public places!)