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well worth doing your homework

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Joined: 28 Feb 2018
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PostPosted: 04/03/2018, 03:22 am    Post subject: well worth doing your homework Reply with quote

Holiday in Asia , probably your flights are booked, guide books bought, and even the packing has started, you are almost ready for that well deserved few weeks, or even months holiday in Asia.

Staying at a one of those gorgeous Bali villas, or a beach side hut in Koh Samui, or even diving in Cebu?

What is probably outstanding is your Travel Money Strategy. No, I don锟絫 mean how much money you expect to spend in Singapore versus Bangkok, but how are you going to have access to the right amount of money, in the right currency, at the right time and place. Of course, without having to carry it all on your person!

Here are some insider tips to money matters for those who will travel in Asia, beyond the metropolises like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Travelers Cheques

Whilst these are the regular staple for travels to Europe, in Asia, they are somewhat less convenient. As a rule of thumb, they are not as widely accepted in Asia (outside of larger cities), as they would be elsewhere in the world.

If you are taking any travelers cheques with you, plan to change these at bigger cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

Of course, the rate you will get for changing travelers cheques will be less than hard cash.

Also, once you are off the beaten track, expect people to look at you as if your are offering them Monopoly Money, when you put your travelers cheques forward.

ATMsCash Machines

These are increasingly available across Asia, and now a days have penetrated well beyond the big cities, into secondthird tier cities, as well as most of the main Asian holiday resort destinations, such as the Bali Island, Phuket, and Langkawi.

Whilst in bigger cities, you will spot ATMs with ease, at many other destinations you will have to actually go looking for them. In Bali, for example, many cash machines are located at Circle K outlets (convenience store chain), or petrolgas stations. In other more remote places, you will need to try your luck at the local mini-market and even the chemists!

However, ATMs are by far one of the most convenient ways of accessing cash easily in Asia, without having to carry huge amounts in person.

However, again, similar to travelers cheques, you will have to pay for the convenienceservice in an incremental way. Banks and credit card companies will make money from you in two ways.

Firstly, because you are withdrawing at a foreign currency, there are exchange rates involved. For ATM withdrawals you will almost certainly end up getting a poorer exchange rate than if you were changing cash.

The second area of payment, is in the form of foreign currency withdrawal charge that will be imposed on your transaction. Given that this charge is often a flat fee, you are better off making fewer withdrawals of bigger amounts of money, than many withdrawals, each of which resulting in a separate charge.

Money Belts

There is no two ways about it, keeping your cash and valuables in a money belt is a safer way than carrying a big wallet, or a handbag which may be snatched with ease.

However, keep in mind that, unless you are traveling to Beijing or Seoul in the winter, your Asian travels will inevitably take you to hot tropical destinations.

As those who have had to carry money belts in the tropics will attest, they can very quickly become very uncomfortable (and wet!). Also, when at more humid environments, a money belt easily becomes very visible when perspiration sticks your clothing onto your body, or you remove your top for a swim. All of a sudden, what once was a discrete security measure becomes a bill-board advertising that you are carrying valuables on you, in the process pinpointing the location too!

So, as they say, horses-for-courses. You will need to decide on the best method of carrying your valuables depending on the environment. Or even better, if you feel like you are in a high risk situation, it is probably best to leave most of your valuables under the protection of a reputable hotel safety box.

Money Exchange

As a general rule of thumb, you will get a better exchange rate for your money at your Asian destination, than back home, regardless of where you change your money. Of course with the exception of larger international hotels, where the exchange rates on offer match the nightly room rates! So, it is well worth doing your homework before your leave home, and check the prevailing exchange rates for your currency, at some of the bigger banks锟?internet sites for your destination(s).

Once you are in Asia, the best and safest way of changing money is to visit one of the local banks. It is worth noting that, in Asia banking office hours will vary substantially from country to country. For example, in Bali, most banks will open at around 9 am, where as in Singapore, some bank branches will not open their doors till 11 am. If your need is time sensitive, it will pay to plan ahead the day before. The good news is, most banks in Asia will accept many different currencies, and often offer fair rates, and provide official receipts. (Of course, some currencies such as the US Dollar, the Euro, and the Japanese Yen, are more readily accepted by more banks than currencies from some other countries.)

If however, you wanted to squeeze a little more from your money, or you have no other choice, you may be tempted to use an Exchange ServicesKiosks, found throughout Asia. Typically, these should offer slightly better rates than banks.

If you are going to use this option, here are a few tips and tricks.

You will probably get a fair rate, and be treated fairly in cities like Singapore, wher
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