Monday, February 06, 2006

The Money File

One problem with doing a lot of overseas travel is the large amount of currency one accumulates. This picture here is my current stash. Some of you may wonder why I don't just convert it back after every trip, but there are some good reasons:

  • I'll Be Bock - Like Aunuld, I know I will be back to most of the places I am visiting, especially in the Far East. So I don't bother to convert Yen, Yuan or Won back to dollars. Not only do I save the transaction costs of converting back and forth, but I also like landing in the country with some "walking around money" already on me.

  • Single Transaction instead of Two - I didn't convert my Mexican pesos back to dollars even though I have no plans to go back to Mexico any time soon. The reason is that converting them to dollars, and then dollars to yen later, would be two transactions. The smarter thing to do is just to carry the pesos to Japan and convert them there, resulting in a single transaction loss.

  • That's a $5 Coin - Many Americans would be surprised that many foreign currencies have high value coins that can go up to five, even ten dollars. So a handful of change can easily be over twenty bucks. The problem is that currency exchanges won't convert coins, so you pretty much have to keep these until the next trip or you will be throwing money away.

I keep the stash in an envelope by my passport and pull out what I need whenever I am about to go on a trip.

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