The last time I traveled to Southeast Asia was in 2009 and for the duration of my trip I used American Express Travelers Cheques. There were no real problems associated with cashing them and did so with relative ease.
I am once again headed for the region (Thailand, Laos, Indonesia) and was wondering if there has been any change in regards to the prevalence of cashing locations and whether or not travelers cheques are still a good idea. I of course will be ordering some Baht beforehand, but was wondering if it was wise to get TCs.
My current plan is to take some preordered currency, travelers cheques, and utilize debit withdrawals for any amount over the cash I am bringing and the travelers cheques. I am just worried about depending solely on debit withdrawals as charges can add up and fearful of a situation in which I lose my card and then am essentially without access to my funds.
Just wanted to know what other fellow travelers experiences have been and what advice they could share...
I had no problem using T.C's in Laos, Thailand or Malaysia (or China) toward the end of last year.
In Laos/Thailand is was quick and easy, with all the money exchange booths I tried accepting them with no fuss. Very quick. In Malaysia you had to go into a bank so it took a bit longer.
I still like them, although many on here don't seem to. I guess in the USA/Europe they are outdated and not very useful. In SE Asia though, I still find that they are a valid and useful form of currency.
I take a mix of cash (USD), T.C's and a traveler pre-paid VISA card (Caxton). I also have my UK debit card on stand by but don't use it normally as they charge too much.
I always recommend having a second ATM card for cash withdrawals - either to a second account, or a second card on the same account. I lost mine on Day 1 of a long trip, and would have been stuck if it weren't for having a backup card.
I keep two accounts (two different banks) and take a card for each. I keep most of my money in one account that I only access via internet banking. I keep a small-ish amount of money in the account that I intended to use on a regular basis (eg $500-1000), and as that runs low, I transfer in another lump of $ into it. I do this to help manage the risk of anything going wrong.