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.
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 But you have to take note that there's a withdrawal fee of 2% of the withdrawn amount or 3.5 dollars whichever is higher.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.
The exchange rate for HKD on the forex board is like this:
Buy = 5.55
Sell = 6.25
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.
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. :)