One of the worst things that can happen to you during your vacation is to suddenly find yourself without money.
Unfortunately, it is not, especially in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
I myself have stood countless times in front of an ATM and got no money. And believe me: when you suddenly can't get money anymore, possibly traveling alone and your pockets are empty, desperation (and eventually hunger) comes up very quickly.
I could have avoided it so easily if I had done some research beforehand and seriously prepared for my trip. It wouldn't have even cost anything, except for a few hours at most searching for information on the Internet.
And that's what this article is all about: I want to save you, dear reader, from the problems that have already happened to me and, on top of that, help you save a lot of money on your travels with "smart banking".
The problems with withdrawing money in Southeast Asia
There are three problems in Southeast Asia that you can avoid with the right preparation. I won't go into detail about each of these problems now. Instead I would like to focus on the solution of the problems.
1. Credit card loss
This danger is obvious. You lose your credit card and therefore you can't get any cash. For this reason, you should always do three things:
- Never travel with only one bank or credit card. Always carry at least two, preferably even three cards with you. There are so many free credit card providers now that it's just silly not to take advantage of them and only travel with one or two cards.
- Keep the cards in different places. If you lose your wallet or a piece of luggage, it should not mean the loss of all bank cards.
- Have the blocking number of the banks stored in your cell phone. With this you can immediately block the card in case of loss.
2. EC cards do not work reliably in Southeast Asia
Not every card that works in Germany works in Asia.
EC cards with Vpay do not work at all.
Maestro cards only work at some ATMs and are therefore not reliable, especially in poorer countries like Laos, Myanmar or Cambodia. Also, Maestro cards must be activated beforehand at your bank for foreign use.
Whether you like it or not, credit cards are an absolute must when traveling to Southeast Asia. Visa and Mastercard are the only reliable cards in Asia.
3. High ATM fees in Thailand and Southeast Asia
For each withdrawal, one pays almost everywhere in Southeast Asia the equivalent of ca. 5€ fee. For a longer trip this can be quite expensive.