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Tuesday, October 11, 2005 |
Traveling Abroad - Another Lesson
American Express has travelers checks, and these are good. Getting them is fairly easy, and you can even get these nifty ones where two people sign and then either one can cash in the check. I used them last year when I went to Korea with Mom. We both signed them, I cashed them in as needed, and when I left I just handed over the rest to mom for her to use. Very convenient. American Express also will exchange money for you. This is convenient, but you pay for it in the lower exchange rate. Comes out to an $8 loss for every $100 you convert. I don't know if this is too far different from getting it exchanged at a bank in Korea, as it effectivly works out to being an 8% fee; but as I recall the difference in market exchange rate and what I was given as a buy offer (technically, you're buying one currency and paying for it in another) last year in Korea was only a 20 won difference (1010 vs. 1024, or a 1% difference). And when I passed by the exchange counter at the airport, I noted that the rate they were changing dollars at was very competative, 1017. Again, don't know if there was a percentage fee, however. Which is a long way of saying that I would recommend changing a minimal amount of money ahead of time, and then exchanging the rest in-country.

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