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Southeast Asia forum

Travelers Cheques?

Posted by Wanderluster on 31/3/2012 at 01:53

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...

#1 Wanderluster has been a member since 24/1/2012. Location: Canada. Posts: 4

Posted by christay2009 on 31/3/2012 at 23:12

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 I guess in the USA/Europe they are outdated and not very useful.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.

#2 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414
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Posted by fondo on 1/4/2012 at 22:19

I don't think you'll get much better advice than above.

However, I wouldn't bother pre buying any baht. I'd just change some cash at the airport on the way in.

#3 fondo has been a member since 23/6/2006. Posts: 172
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Posted by busylizzy on 1/4/2012 at 22:33

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.

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by Wanderluster on 2/4/2012 at 18:20

Thanks for all the advice! Really appreciate it :)

#5 Wanderluster has been a member since 24/1/2012. Location: Canada. Posts: 4

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