Should I bring USD when traveling abroad?

When travelling internationally, I’m always left confused whether I should change my Philippine Pesos to US Dollars, and then get my money changed in my destination, or directly convert my Pesos to the local currency. If you’re like me, each Peso was actually hard-earned, so I do mind if I lose a couple of hundreds here and there.

So to end my own confusion, I decided to make definitive guide to bringing money abroad: USD or local currency?

Overall, my recommendation is to change to USDollars before leaving the Philippines, and changing it to the local currency.

Why so?

Reason # 1: USD is valued much higher

Thai Baht Example

PHP to USD to Local Currency PHP to Local Currency
5000 PHP USD Ex Rate: 52 5000 PHP Thai Baht Rate: 1.5
5000 PHP 96.15 USD
96.15 USD 2996.85 Thai Baht 5000 PHP 2991.43 Thai Baht

Euro Example

PHP to USD to Local Currency PHP to Local Currency
5000 PHP USD Ex Rate: 52 5000 PHP Ex Rate: 62.24
5000 PHP 96.15 USD
96.15 USD 77.99 Euro 5000 PHP 77.83 Euro

Consequently, Philippine Pesos are also valued much more less, especially if you exchange at the airport of your destination.

Reason # 2: US Dollars will be valuable whenever

If you directly exchange your money directly to the local currency, and you’re traveling to a country that you don’t expect to frequent (for example, a country like Vietnam, or South Korea), you’ll be better off having excess USD rather than your destination’s local currency.

Reason # 3: US Dollars will always be more accessible

When you’re traveling to more exotic countries, local currency will be much harder to find. For example, if you’re flying to say, Maldives, I doubt you’ll find the local currency in money exchangers, even in the business districts of Metro Manila.

So do you agree? Do you also change your Pesos to USD before traveling? Do you have exceptions to these reasons? Hit me up in the comments!

(photo from this link)

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