Traveling and foreign currencies

Going on a vacation means spending money on the currency of the place of your destination. For example, I am currently in Thailand so I am spending Baht where I am now. I wonder… Do you convert your local money into the currency of your destination at your country? Or do you wait until you are at your destination before you exchange your cash?

What I learned in this trip, on the very first few hours that I am here in Thailand, is that it is best to leave your country with your cash converted into the currency of your destination. Most specially if the country of your destination is a non-English country where very few people can speak English fluently. I am not discriminating here, I must say. I am just saying that the language barrier makes it more difficult to transact and understand the rules in banking and foreign exchange here. Plus the fact that conversion rate here is way higher than the conversion rate in my country.

My sister was trying to withdraw money using her international ATM card in several different ATMs here in the Thailand airport but it kept giving back a “transaction is invalid” message. What should have been the money meant to pay for our hotel stay is still in her bank account in our country because she opted to withdraw here thinking the rate would be in our favor and it is easy to transact foreign exchange here.

So that’s a lesson learned for me and my sister. Don’t ever rely solely on the foreign exchange of your destination. As much as possible, prepare everything including the foreign currency of your destination at your own country.


  • Depends where you’re going and what is the value of your currency against the country you’re visiting. Normally, when we travel to Asia, we just exchange our money upon arrival. However, if we are going to Europe or US where their currency is higher than the dirhams, we buy their currency here in UAE.

    It all depends on which currency is stronger or not. Withdrawing cash is another issue. I always use my debit card in Thailand. I normally withdraw upon arrival at the airport and so far, we never encountered any problem.

  • Hi! You are in Thailand!
    Are you still there?
    Buy Durian Chips! It’s so delicious.
    Sayang, nagpabili sana ako. 🙂