Currency queries

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Currency queries

1. Posted by lucylu1988 (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'm going around the world with my Boyfriend on September 10th.
I'm not sure what to do about currency.

We're going to... South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore), Australia, New Zealand, South America and Europe.

I'm confused about travellers cheques. I suppose I should take a percentage of T.C's, Cash and my card. But what sort of percentage?

Also, should I get all of the t.c's before I leave or get them on the way round for the other countries ...

Lucy x

2. Posted by sunraybret (Full Member 27 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi Lucy, It is quite easy in most of those countries to use Credit card rather than travellers cheques. I tend to carry two cards, lock one up in the hotel safe and carry the other. Most asian countries will trade in US Dollars and the rate can be negotiated in some of them but watch the commission charged. I tind to pay for what ever I can on cards (it gives a better record when you get home, + interest free days). I use cash where it gets a better price and change currency only when absolutely necessary otherwise you pay exchange to/from currency a lot on a rtw trip.

3. Posted by Taffski (Travel Guru 182 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


just posted a bit on this already on the forum

Agree with sunraybret on having multiple cards and getting US dollar denominated CQ's and some hard currency for emergencies.

However, try (depending on your financial situation) not to use credit cards too much as they charge you extra interest on money withdrawals as opposed to purchases (read you credit card agreement carefully and check out my post above about the Nationwide debit card account!)

Credit cards charge a fixed fee for a cash withdrawal and also some give you a lower exchange rate than a debit card does.

Your statement will show you the Cash advance charge and the amount you withdrew and the daily exchange rate.

What they don't tell you is that you'll pay a higher rate of interest on the money you took out (up to 33% pa and not the 20% you thought you were getting charged)... unless you pay it all off that month (which very few people do!)

It may only seem like pennies at the time, however as the charges mount up the pennies turn into pounds (and the banks are already making enough money without us helping them!!!!) Remember that the companies also remove any payments you make to the card from your purchases and not your money advances... as they make more money from your money advances than anything you buy !!!

If you have a credit card with some money owing.. get a new one (go to or the like) and transfer the amount owed across to it (You'll get interest free for up to 6 months on some... do your homework!)

Then with your existing card (which will now be at zero), set up a direct debit to pay off the full amount every month (if you can afford it!) and use the old card for cash advances and the new card for purchases whilst you're abroad. You'll not get charged no where near as much as you would if you had an single amount outstanding each month on the one card!

If you spend £10,000 in a year travelling for cash advances on your card, this means a difference of £1,300(odd) in interest alone!!!!

hope this helps, and remember that just because you'll have two cards, doesn't mean you can spend twice as much :)


4. Posted by rach_uk (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

]Hi, as your from the UK go with Nationwide. I've got their Flex account (debit card) which doesn't charge you to take out money abroad. You can get a e-savings account with this and transfer money into your flex account online. Then get a credit card with them to purchase bigger items (just don't take out money with this card) - and again pay off your credit card online.
Check out this website

to locate Visa atms abroad.

5. Posted by lucylu1988 (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all of the help.
I have applied for a nationwide Flex debit card, but I won't get it before I leave as I don't turn 18 until September 28th, so we're going to live off of my Boyfriends card (also nationwide debit card) for a couple of months then when in Oz my card will be shipped to me.

What abotu travellers cheques though? Do I need some ?

6. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Do remember that on "commission free" or "charge free" deals with currency exchange, the exchange rate will most likely reflect this. Commission/charge free isn't always necessarily better than where this is a separate charge.

With a Nationwide Flex Account (and yes, I do have one of them - in fact 2 as I also have a joint account), the exchange rate used to convert may reflect the no charge.

When exchanging currency (though not possible when using a card overseas), it's good to look at the final figures - as in what you pay and what you get including any or no charges. Don't just jump at "no commission".