Exchanging Money???

Old Feb 10th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Exchanging Money???

We are leaving in one week on our two week trip to Sri Lanka. We are from the US and I am wondering what is the easiest way to deal with money in Sri Lanka. Should we take travelers checks or US dollars? We have paid for very little of our trip up front so I am concerned with bringing a lot of cash. If we do bring US dollars can we use them for tips, etc or is it better to exchange and use rupees.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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You will use the local money everywhere, not US dollars. We simply used ATMs to get money. There are ATMs right after the arrival area at the airport.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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We do not have ATM cards. Would you suggest that we just get travelers checks and exchange at the airport.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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If you don't have ATM cards, then either cash or travelers checks can be exchanged at banks or at exchange counters at the airport. Don't expect hotels, shops and restaurants to take either US cash or travelers checks.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 09:41 PM
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There are plenty of banks all around the country in almost every town which will serve you nicely and exchange your currency including travellers cheques for a fair rate. Some of the better banks I recommend are Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Sampath Bank, and HNB.

NTB (Nations Trust Bank) are the local agents for American Express.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 12:14 AM
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Travelers cheques are from another age. I'm azazed that people still use them. Take cash and pay for everything you can with a credit card. I'm assuming you have some of those...?

And, in future, get an ATM card. It's kinda silly these days traveling without one - as you'll discover when you try to change your travelers cheques...
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 01:33 AM
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Lots of great deals on Visa credit cards work best for me to ATM at big banks for best rates, Just got a Chase.com Sapphire
free $625 cash for using 3K in first 3 months no foreign fee.
Best one I have found currently. capitalone.com Venture is nice also have one of those double miles on everything. Carry back up small USD new no tears in my money belt. TCs lots of
of fees hard to negotiate many scammers used to use them not currently. Thereissomuch fraud around Bangko many providers
like Amex.com will noteven reimburse you if they are stolen. Trip cover and review of consular advisories always wise.

Have fun!
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 01:51 AM
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If you do not have an ATM card, or do not want one for perhaps security reasons,then consider one of the relatively new pre loaded FX cards where you load up with one of the hard currencies USD/EURO/£ - the rates offered are generally wholesale and much better than most retail card providers will offer. It is not linked to your main bank account so no risk of someone cleaning out your account:

http://www.fairfx.com/travelcards?si...FRR8fAodHneHIQ

Here is a link to a UK based card but I am sure that something similar exists in the US.

Otherwise I agree with dogster T/Cs belong to another age and can be a bit of a hassle to change in many banks
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 07:37 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. I have not done travelers checks in years either. Most countries that we have visited have been paid for up front before going and we just carried US dollars and sometimes only exchanged a small amount of currency. This trip we are going to have to bring much more cash to pay for the majority of the trip so I was a little concerned carried a lot of cash. Will they exchange $100 bills or do we need to only take smaller bills?
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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qwovadis writes: Just got a Chase.com Sapphire
free $625 cash for using 3K in first 3 months no foreign fee


The website says:
Earn 50,000 bonus points – that's worth $625 toward airfare or hotel accommodations booked through Ultimate RewardsSM

Where's the free $625 cash, qwovadis?
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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Before I entered into the ATM age - later than most - I just carried a thick wad of $100's. Never any problem changing them - nor ever any robberies, muggings or kidnappings, despite my innate stupidity.

Remember - your $$ don't have to be carried around on your person once you arrive OR kept in the same place in your bags.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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I can tell U stories about cashing a TC. In my wifes home town in India it was a pain. I even had to have the purchase record, fill out forms like crazy and even write in block letters. Then the guy tried to tell me it was fake because of a millimeter difference in one letter of my signature. No more TC's for me. It was ridiculous.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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100 dollar bills are what will get you the best exchange rate, world-wide.

Using a credit card in an ATM is a very expensive way to get cash. SInce it is a credit card, you are getting a cash advance, and in addition to the fees charged by the ATM, there is a percentage fee from your credit card and you start owing interest on the amount you withdraw from the moment it comes out of the ATM.

Many people (myself included) don't like debit cards, as you don't have the fraud insurance you have with a credit card, and someone can clean out your bank account with debit charges. Many banks want to give you a debit card to access your cash via an ATM, but almost all will give you an ATM card upon request.

Before your next trip, do some research on your local banks and see which will give you the best deal. Oftentimes, credit unions or brokerages have the best ATM deal (no charge for using foreign ATMs, even refunding the charge the ATM owner levies).

The pre-loaded cards like crellston recommends aren't a great deal in the US, as there are lots of fees involved. But do research them - one of these days some bank will implement a prepaid card that makes sense.
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