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Pay in Asia: Traveller cheques or bank card???

Travel Forums Asia Pay in Asia: Traveller cheques or bank card???

1. Posted by danielbode (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4y

Good day,
I will travel to Asia next month for around 6 month and want to see everything :-)
I have a few questions to people who have been there:
1. Is it cheaper in the long term to travel with Traveller cheques or bank card? I have an Australian and a German bank card so I could get money from ATM's in Asia or go every few weeks to a bank and get money from Traveller cheques. Whats the better solution?
2. I am also searching for a travel insurance for longer than 1 year. I contacted a lot of insurances in Germany (where I am from) but they say I have to sign in before I start travelling.

Thank you very much for your help!

Daniel Boden

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1946 posts) 4y

Asia is a BIG place - banking standards also vary considerably between locations!

3. Posted by vickim (Full Member 125 posts) 4y

It is true that banks standards vary in Asia but I have never had a problem finding a bank. Finding a bank and figuring out how much a certain amount of money will last you is always part of the fun of travelling. I HATE travellers cheques. They are just one of those things that make you stand out as a 'tourist'...and it sets you up for getting the 'tourist price' rather than the 'local price'. If you worry about getting stuck somewhere for a day or two just carry some US cash. They take US dollars everywhere.

4. Posted by Curt1591 (Respected Member 230 posts) 4y

It would be very rare to come across anyone but a currency exchange that would accept dollars in Thailand.

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3544 posts) 4y

Quoting Curt1591

It would be very rare to come across anyone but a currency exchange that would accept dollars in Thailand.

Very true. A bank or currency exchange will covert your USD to baht, but I doubt even a short time bar girl would be happy with USD. Well, if you had enough of them she might take a chance and let you pay in USD. But other than that!

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1328 posts) 4y

Quoting vickim

It is true that banks standards vary in Asia but I have never had a problem finding a bank. Finding a bank and figuring out how much a certain amount of money will last you is always part of the fun of travelling. I HATE travellers cheques. They are just one of those things that make you stand out as a 'tourist'...and it sets you up for getting the 'tourist price' rather than the 'local price'. If you worry about getting stuck somewhere for a day or two just carry some US cash. They take US dollars everywhere.

As far as travelers checks go it depends on the country you are visiting if it is a better deal than just plain old cash or using the ATM. Doesn't every person changing foreign money or travelers checks stand out as a tourist? I like travelers checks! I get them without any charge from my credit union. I never routinely change them in stores or even hotels, when necessary I use a bank. Travelers check are good because they are safe! You can record the serial numbers in email form and then save that data. If your checks are lost of stolen (maybe even along with everything else you own) all you have to do is find an internet shop and pull up that email. An email is good for lots of "must remember" stuff!

For Thailand it is easy to change travelers checks because they have so many bank and mini bank money changers all over the place with decent hours open 7 days a week. Right now a travelers check cashed in Thailand at one of these many bank money changers gives you a hair more in return than just ordinary cash! There are fees to cash travelers checks, for Thailand that fee is only 33 baht per check. So, only bring the largest denomination you can get. The fee to use an ATM in Thailand is 150 baht, so for the same amount of money a travelers check is a better deal!

The only time you use US dollars in Thailand is to change it to Thai baht at one of the bank money changers! Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia US dollars are okay. Different countries different methods!

Using a travelers check isn't the only thing that may make you stand out as a tourist in Asia, being around 6 feet tall and 200 pounds and with a white face also says "TOURIST!"

Have fun!

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jul-2010, at 21:07 by karazyal ]

7. Posted by vickim (Full Member 125 posts) 4y

-snip- Bottom line is I have travelled to 44 countries in the past 10 years, never used a travellers cheque once, never went to a currency exchange once (who with any common sense would?), never had a problem finding a bank machine (except Cuba) and noticed most places I travel has the price in domestic currency and US currency, even small out if the way places. Question for you? If you ran out of money and only had US dollars left why would you be buying drinks in Bangkok? And why wouldn't you just go to one of the bank machines outside the bar?

Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules

[ Edit: Please keep it nice. Link to Forum Rules added. ]

8. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1328 posts) 4y

Quoting vickim

-snip- Bottom line is I have travelled to 44 countries in the past 10 years, never used a travellers cheque once, never went to a currency exchange once (who with any common sense would?), never had a problem finding a bank machine (except Cuba) and noticed most places I travel has the price in domestic currency and US currency, even small out if the way places. Question for you? If you ran out of money and only had US dollars left why would you be buying drinks in Bangkok? And why wouldn't you just go to one of the bank machines outside the bar?

-snip- Not every country is the same! Thailand has an excellent method of changing money over to Thai baht. For the most part they use REAL banks - not private money changers! The rates are pretty much the same between the various banks! Yes, an ATM is a nice way to go but in THAILAND you also pay a 150 baht surcharge for every ATM withdrawal! Not all countries are the same, you do what works in each country you visit - even if it means that a travelers check may be a good option! It does help to have a financial institution who will issue travelers checks without any fees, or be smart enough to find a place like that! My credit union even pays for some of my ATM fees too!

"Question for you? If you ran out of money and only had US dollars left why would you be buying drinks in Bangkok? And why wouldn't you just go to one of the bank machines outside the bar?"

I usually know what is in my wallet and wouldn't be caught short! There is nothing wrong with an ATM but you have to take a big chunk of money out to recoup the $5 fee (150 baht surcharge) you pay for that withdrawal, not to mention any fees your bank adds on! A fee of 150 baht is more than I pay for a beer anyway! Having cash, travelers checks, debit card and a credit card for unplanned for emergencies is a good way to travel. -snip-

Have a nice day!

[ Edit: Cleaning up a little. ]

9. Posted by Curt1591 (Respected Member 230 posts) 4y

That 150 THB is more than my wife and I usually pay for lunch, for the two of us. But, I'm not on holiday. Most tourists will waste more on their first dinner than they lose on that fee!

Living here, with offshore income, all my money, all the time, is subject to some sort of fee. The ATM fee is one of the least costly. Fortunately, AEON ATMs don't add the fee, have terrific exchange rates, and have conveniently placed one in my neighborhood Big C.

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