Me and my partner are planning a four month trip to Thailand and are aiming to take around £8000/9000.
My original plan was to take travellers cheques, as I assume these would incur the least charges. My worry then would be that they get stolen and I am unsure how easy it would be to replace them. Does anyone have any experience/knowledge of this?
My other idea was to use my debit card and pay the charges by both my bank and the Thai banks. If we did this I wouldn't want to make too many transactions due to the mounting cost, so I was wondering if there is a limit to how much you can withdrawer at one time?
Any advice or info regarding this would be greatly appreciated, as would any advice on keeping money safe.
We will be mostly staying in cheap bungalows that won't have a safe, but do not want to spend our time there worrying about losing our spends!
Thanks in advance for your advice or suggestions.
#1 Natwock has been a member since 27/11/2011. Posts: 4
First of all I'd advice you to look under Planning tab on this site. There's a lot of good information on money strategies there.
There is no perfect strategy regarding TC or debt card. It's about personal preference and the amounts you're talking about but if you're under the notion that TC's are cheaper than debt cards that's not true or if they are, in an insignificant way. Disadvantage of TC's is that you get a far lower rate on them than normal exchange rate.
For me the debt card works best with a few hundred USD in TC as back-up and a few hundred USD in cash and a Credit card can be considered as well.
Normally I'd like to have money in three forms with me
If you go four months and withdraw three times a month (provided you're budget travelers) 20.000 baht (60.000 baht is roughly 2000 USD) you'll only withdraw 12 times. Those costs are not something to worry about I'd say. If costs are $5 per transaction it would cost you $60
If you loose $0.02 on the worse xchange rate for TC you'd loose 16000 cents which comes down to $160.
So even if the bank charges would be $10 per transaction you'd still be better off with debt card.
Thanks for the advice eastwest, debt card it is then!
#3 Natwock has been a member since 27/11/2011. Posts: 4
e-w is NOT right as for exchange rate-the rate for TC is better as for plain cash-and in MOST (=not all) Thai banks a little lower as ATM. But it is often-if you know how to-even better to change plain cash in high notes at a non-bank private exchange. Thus the arithmetics of e-w are also doubtful.
TH is notorious for making problems for someone who has ''lost'' TCs-first they go on looking if you did not ly. (bnot the TH govmt, but the Amex aetc, banks).
Such a large sum should never by anyone be taken in one bundle-that should also be blinding obvious.
#4 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
I take a bit of everything. Debit card, TC's, cash and a MasterCard. I have never had trouble exchanging TC's at banks and I try to always use ATM's that are located inside a bank during day time hours... And if you can pre-pay on your credit card before you leave it can lessen the amount of ATM withdrawals you have to make. I use the credit card to pay for flights and hotels/guesthouses when I can.
Just don't carry all forms of your money in one place at one time!
I prefer to use combination of debit card, credit card (separate card to the debit one) and cash. In fact, I'd recommend carrying TWO debit cards for two different accounts (that are connected via internet banking) - and always carry those cards separately. I found this very useful when I lost my wallet at the start of my trip - I had an instant backup until replacements could arrive 3 weeks later.
I also always carry surplus cash with me (USD in various denominations) as 'back up'. This will also be split up into different wallets, etc. And I even tuck a $20 note into my toiletry bag as an emergency stash!
When using ATM machines, there will be a limit to how much you can withdrawal. It's a pathetically low amount in Laos, and varies enormously in Indonesia. Can't remember the limits in Thailand though - but ask around and search out banks that have the highest limits (often a central city bank branch ATM). It goes without saying to take out the maximum amount even though it goes against conventional wisdom about carrying too much cash. But then be particularly vigilant with where you stash your cash.
I never use non-bank ATM's (eg the ones that are outside 7-11's and other 'agencies' as they often incur additional charges/commissions. Stick to the ones attached to an actual bank where possible.