How do I carry my yen?
May 16, 2012 6:13 PM Subscribe
What's the best way to handle getting/carrying foreign currency? (For travel to Japan, in particular.)
In addition to the ninety thousand other bizarre anxieties I'm having about this trip to Japan, I've realised that I don't actually know how 'normal' people handle money while travelling. For past trips, I've simply changed money before I left and taken cash and that was all the money I've spent. But that's never been more than €150. (The one time I haven't stayed with friends/relatives, my friend was drawing money out of a local account and I paid him my share in dollars.)
The options I can see are
- Change enough cash for the whole trip before I leave. I have qualms about carrying that much cash. I don't know if it's simply psychological because the numbers are so big for JPY.
- Traveller's checks. Yes, they've gone super out of fashion. They may be hard to cash in Japan.
- Credit card. As I understand it, Japan's a cash economy. I need to pay for the hostels in cash. Maybe good for train tickets, though there's an irritating 3% surcharge on foreign transactions. Oh, plus Japan has chip-and-pin it seems.
- ATM. My bank charges an outrageous $5 plus 3%. To be honest, I want to avoid this option out of principle, though it's probably the best option if my aversion to carrying large sums of cash makes sense.
So what to real adults do? Are there options I haven't thought about?