International travellers looking to drive their dollar further should stick to cash, so long as they feel confident about their personal security. Some destinations are safer than others. How you feel about a particular place is a personal decision.
These days there are several options available for transporting foreign cash needs. Traveller’s cheques have long been popular because of their security. Of course, the rate is worse than that for cash because there is clerical time required to issue them and because there is that element of security. Recently there are reports that people have difficulty cashing them in some countries.
Another reason why traveller’s cheques are losing their appeal is due to the emergence of what is known as cash passport. These are Visa cards onto which a foreign currency is loaded.
For example, if you are visiting Europe, you may load the card with EUR5,000.00. You then may use the card as a debit card in Europe or make cash withdrawals from ATMs. However, there are fees for those withdrawals.
There is the obvious benefit of security, at a price. Once again, the rates you receive when purchasing a cash passport usually aren’t as good as cash rates.
Most people seem to travel with cash and traveller’s cheques or the cash passport, where the trip is longer than two weeks. For shorter trips, most seem to opt for cash, confident of their own security and using discrimination to avoid being downtown or the red light areas, or in a back alley, after dark.
There is no doubt that cash is the cheapest option, provided you have a good rate from your foreign exchange shop and there are no commission or fees charged, hidden or otherwise.
Remember: Always ask about any hidden costs, before you buy or sell. The disclosure about commission or fees being charged is always in small print!