Traveler's Checks, Visa or Cash Card (Debit)?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by FlyingScotsman, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. FlyingScotsman

    FlyingScotsman Crash Test Dummy

    Mar 3, 2003
    Sugar Land, Texas
    This question is geared specifically for the folks that have recently visited SE Asia (Thailand / Cambodia / Laos) although I'm interested in readings other's views..

    We're heading to SE Asia (funnily enough, you've probably guessed that) in 2 weeks and we were wondering what you used for buying goods / getting hold of some cash, etc particularly in areas where cash machines, and / or banks are non-existent such as around the Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand? I don't want to take too much hard cash on our travels as we'll be traveling by whatever transportation is available. I've had good luck using my cash machine card while traveling around South America but not sure about Asia.

    I've seen TV commercials for the American Express Traveler's Check Card but I don't think they will be widely accepted in the remote areas...Anyone used them?


    Thanks! :bow
  2. Bgunn

    Bgunn Posible maƱana

    Apr 7, 2004
    Rockford.Wa - Yuma.Az
    Spent a month traveling around Thailand last Jan. ATM's were fairly easy to find,even in the Golden Triangle area. I would take a back up atm card in case the machine eats it. Happened in Chang Mai.

    Alot of places don't take credit cards. Can't speak for the other places.
    Sounds like a good trip.
  3. hilandfrog

    hilandfrog jackass

    Aug 17, 2003
    cash gets the best exchange rates...
    travelers checks suck
    Debit cards work well in most places, parts of malaysia sucked as did rural thailand
    most big hotels will give cash advances but you will pay for their services and recieve poor x-change rates. some will cash cheques but use caution.
    Bank of hong kong seems to be in most nations in SE asia.
    have fun, take pics, be careful
  4. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

    Nov 9, 2003
    Bellingham, WA
    FYI, Consumer Reports just did a one-page article about the different exchange rates offered by different options to buy and get cash oveseas.

    It used to be that credit card charging was the way to go everywhere you could do it because you got a great exchange rate. But most credit cards are now tacking on surcharges, typically 3% on every purchase. It varies between credit cards, so getting a card with a low surcharge might be worth it for a big trip. Debit cards also typically have surcharges now, although I don't recall the numbers.

    - Mark