Travels and Currencies

Because my job requires me to travel out of the country from time to time, it is inevitable not to spend. Surprise! 🙂

As I was looking earlier for some bills inside my wallet, I realized I have accumulated several currencies that I am not so sure if I will get to use ever again in this lifetime.

And there, as the tricycle sped away towards SM, I reached these realizations and notes to self which I am going to share with you.

Indulge me as I dish some tips and tricks that I have learned in my minuscule experience.

1. It is possible to survive in another country without exchanging your Philippine peso bills to the destination’s currency. I have tried it several times. You just need a credit card or a debit card and you are all set. But of course, this only works when you are sure that you don’t need to spend small change for a can of cola, a taxi fare (if nobody will pick you up in the airport though in some countries like Singapore you can readily pay cab drivers with your CC and DC… we can even do that in Davao now… Yay!) or that tasty bowl of noodles from the street kitchen around the corner. With many countries going cashless, swiping your cards always do the trick.

2. If using their bill is really necessary, upon arrival just take money from an ATM making sure that your bank supports withdrawal from different countries. Some people exchange their peso to dollars/euros before leaving Philippines and upon arrival to their destination then exchange again their dollars/euros to the currency of that particular country. The result, you lose a lot of money in conversion. Withdrawing money in the country of destination entails service charge, of course. But for me, I will choose the shortened process of acquiring the desired currency any time of the day. It gives me the security that I am not lugging around cash that I can lose (who knows) plus I only have with me enough paper money that I will need for that particular time. Which brings me to my third point.

3. If try as you might but you really cannot finish the cash (I don’t know how that is possible *wink*) that you have and it is time for you to go home, try to lose the coins first. Spend it with passion. Aside from the fact that they are heavy, takes up a lot of space, and jiggle in your purse, they are also practically useless when you get back home. You cannot exchange it here. They have no value. Sometimes, even the moment you step inside the plane. I know. It is actually one of my biggest problems now (yeah right, big word). When I was in Australia, I was so lazy to carry my small change because they are so heavy. I am not sure if they use their coins as alternatives for weights there so they can save money going to the gym or something. Imagine our two-peso Cocos Nucifera coin (if you don’t know what I am talking about then you are not that old) still survives there in the form of their 50 cents. If you have 50 pieces of that in your wallet, then I am sure you have buff arms by now. Ok. That can be a slight exaggeration. But come on! They are so big!

Cocos nucifera aka Aussie’s 50 cents

Anyway, so I accumulated a lot of these change hoping to dispose them later on but I failed. It was too late when I realized I have a bag full of them. I started spending them a few days before my departure but I still have a lot. I even used them to pay for my cab to the airport, a meal from McDonald’s, some water, coke, biscuits, lollies, they are tough.

In the plane I was hoping to get rid of them once and for all so I ordered the most expensive meal (yeah, I used a budget airline and I have to pay for my food) and lo and behold, they don’t accept coins. What the? So that’s the story of my life. I still have tons here in my coin purse and I don’t know what to do with them. Unless I go back to Australia. Now that’s a thought.

Some more handfuls from everywhere 

4. If your bills survive the light of day and you still have a lot, take care of them. Take care meaning make sure they have no tear and are in good condition. If it is a popular currency you can exchange them when you get back in the Philippines or keep them for your future trip.

5. If your paper bills are too much that it becomes a liability letting them sit around the house but you don’t want to exchange them just yet or you plan to use them in other trips, you can opt to open a Third Currency Account. See, I sound so smart knowing this. Ahahahahahaha. Actually, I just googled it last night. Some major banks offer that service. I think BPI accepts the most number of different currencies. The others like BDO only accept USD, PNB only Euro, USD and Yen (?), and the others I have no idea.

6. Lastly, if all else fails, just keep them as a souvenir to remind you of that wonderful time you were in that country, inhaling their air, chewing their food and appreciating a life different from what we have here even for a while.

I hope this helps! 🙂


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