Travel Considerations: Money & Practical Tips
Taking money into the country
There is no difficulty to take cash into Asia. If you decide to carry more than $10,000.00, you will need to fill it out on the customs declaration form. Many people prefer to carry a minimum of cash. It is a good idea to convert a small amount of money into local currency to allow purchase of items in the airport if needed. Converting money at the airport will have higher fees than most other locations.
A popular and easy to use option is a pre-loaded card, such as that from AAA which functions similar to an ATM card. It is considered a form of electronic traveler’s checks and is one way to get daily money for travel and spending. Some people easily use a debit card to draw money out of shared access ATMs. Before you travel, notify your bank of your foreign travel and find out what details on daily withdrawal limits. It is wise to have several options for securing funds, so that if something goes awry, you have an alternate plan. There will be some places that take credit cards in Asia, such as tourist locales and government stores, though prices are often higher than other shops; having access to cash is useful.
- Wearing a money belt is convenient and secure. Once in country, it can be useful to keep all large bills in the money belt and small bills in your wallet or purse. If one runs out of small bills during the day while shopping or on excursion, you can go into a restroom or private spot to transfer money from the belt to your wallet/purse. Be mindful that opening a wallet with a lot of bills is an invitation to petty thieves.
- This is particularly important in crowded tourist areas that cater to foreigners – which are many of those key cultural sites you will want to see. Don’t let the concern keep you away, just be wise and aware. If females carry a purse or bag, choose one with strong wide straps (some are made almost cut proof by travel apparel companies such as Magellan’s or Travel Smith). Wear your purse or bag with closures against your body and within range of your hands. Pickpockets in Asian countries are pretty common and highly skilled. Think and plan ahead and be aware of your surroundings when in crowded tourist locales.
It is a good idea to make copies of all pertinent travel documents, including passports, and itineraries. Give the documents to a friend and your spouse or travel partner to carry an extra copy.
- Make copies of the medications you and your family members take, your
physicians’ phone numbers, the pharmacies you use, and any medical
issues you have and give the documents to a friend in the event you lose
a prescription medication and require a replacement
- Register with the US Embassy whenever traveling to a foreign country, so there is a record of your travel abroad and you can be notified if needed.
For traveling with children, click Lea's Top Ten Items to read her recommendations for traveling internationally with children.