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Travel: Exchanging Money to another Currency? Read This!

If you are travelling to another country and will need to exchange your Philippine Pesos to another currency, here are a few tips that I learned from my previous trips and would love to share with you. (I've only traveled to South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau so far tho.)


This is more of a list of options on how to exchange money than tips, but what the heck. :D

Tip # 1

Never exchange all of your money at airports.

Airports have the worst exchange rates and are always lower than local money changers in that country.
Make sure to exchange just a small amount of your cash and then exchange the rest of your money once you find a local money changer.

From my experience:
Before our flight to Korea, we exchanged our money to Korean won while in NAIA Terminal 3.
We already thought that the rate was pretty good. It was at 1 Peso = 20 Won
or 10,000 Pesos = 200,000 Won
When we got to Korea, the local money changer's rate was so much better.
It was at 1 Peso = 24 Won. Later on we even found a better one, at 1 Peso = 24.5 Won.
If we exchanged 10000 Pesos at the last money changer we could have earned 245,000 won instead of just 200,000.

For HK and Korea, they do accept Pesos in exchange to their currency, you just get a better rate when you exchange US Dollars.
But IMO, you lose money if you'll have to exchange your Pesos to US Dollars, so just go with exchanging directly from Pesos to the other currency you need.

Tip # 2

Withdraw foreign money from an ATM

You can also withdraw money from your Debit card( ATM Card) right at a foreign ATM.
As long as it also has a Cirrus or Expressnet logo. (I'm referring to BPI atm cards) You have to check if your ATM card has the same logos as the ATM you'll be using in another country. There will be a withdrawal fee of course but it's the more convenient option than having to go to a Money Changer.

From experience:
Well it's not really from my experience. It's more from a friend's experience in withdrawing HKD.
You have to call BPI first to enable the option to withdraw at an ATM in a foreign country.
After that, you will be able to withdraw money in the currency of the country you're in. But you have to take note that there's a withdrawal fee of 2% of the withdrawn amount or 3.5 dollars whichever is higher.

Tip # 3

Buy foreign money from friends or family members

Let's say a friend of yours just went to Hong Kong and has extra HKD left from their tour. You can also exchange your pesos for their HKD. That way you don't have to wave your hands around while trying to talk to a foreign money changer who knows very limited English.

Tip # 4

Exchange your money while in the Philippines

You can also be super prepared to the nth power by exchanging your money while in Manila. You can buy foreign money at local banks, SM forex counters, local money changers, and Czarina. Most of them have the currency you'll need. But if you'll be buying a large amount, you may want to call them up first before showing up to pay for the foreign currency. Just sayin. Coz they may not have enough of the currency you need when you drop by.

Tip # 5

To buy foreign currency is to pay the larger amount

When you look at the money exchange tables, you'll see two columns.
One for Buy and one for Sell. This really got me confused. What the heck is the difference of the Buy and Sell rate?
The words confused me because I'm buying foreign currency, so do I look at Buy column?
Or do they sell the foreign currency, so I have to look at the Sell Column?
Correct Answer. It's actually the latter. Sell Column.

For example:
The exchange rate for HKD on the forex board is like this:
Buy = 5.55
Sell = 6.25

Interpretation:
I had to give them 6.25 Pesos for every HKD they will sell me.
For me to get 1000 HKD, I had to give the money changer 6250 Pesos.

Gets?

Tip # 6

Convenience is the best policy

Go with whatever is most convenient for you. Exchange at the airport, withdraw from an atm, or exchange at a local bank. Don't waste your time looking for a better money changer in the country you'll visit. You're there to see the sights, taste the food and experience the culture, not look for a better exchange rate!

So there you have it, some tips when exchanging to foreign money. Hope it helps you out on your next trip. :)

13 comments :

Diana Mantua said...

Hello! This is by far the most informative blog I have ever seen with regard to guide in forex when traveling to another country.
Thank you so much! <3

Gabbie said...

Hi! I'm going to live and study in Korea for a year and had some trouble on how I'm going to withdraw my allowance (whether in won or peso). This means while transacting in the ATM, I type in KRW, am I right? ��
This has been the most helpful one yet! Thank you very much!!!

PacificExchange said...

Your style is unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, I will just bookmark this page.

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roxanne said...

Hi. We would be travelling to Korea this year and will be staying in Myeongdong. May I know where the local money exchange you're referring to?

Carlo Guitche said...

Hello! we will be going to HK this week, if we exchange rate in Czarina branches at around 50-70K? do we need to Call them first?

Ana Carla Pagulayan said...

Hey Carlo.

If it's more than 10k in one transaction, I suggest you call the branch before going.

Thanks for reading the post! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Ana Carla Pagulayan said...

Hey Roxanne.

We saw the Money Changer with the best rates near Insadong. But I don't remember the exact spot, sorry. Suggest to keep a lookout tho! Hope you have a great trip!

Thanks for reading the post! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Ana Carla Pagulayan said...

Thanks for reading the post!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Ana Carla Pagulayan said...

Hey Gabbie.

Yes, you're gonna withdraw your money in Korean Won. Hipe that clarifies.

I'm so jealous! You can do the DIY kdrama tour on your free time while you're there!!

Thanks for reading the post! :)

Ana Carla Pagulayan said...

Appreciate the feedback, Diana. You can share it with your friends too! Thanks for reading the post!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

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Lam Nguyแป…n said...

Thank you for the tips :) planning my trip to Korea. Thinking that I would go ahead with exchanging it in Manila 1st before going there as :)