Should I bring cash or use a card?
Wherever you travel, knowing the best way to keep your funds accessible is important, balancing security and convenience to make sure you are always able to enjoy your stay at any destination. For Phuket, this is an important question, because ATM machines can be an expensive way to get cash, so much so that using an ATM can cost you half of your daily spending budget.
With that in mind, a few local tricks and tips can make a world of difference, and while a card provides a safe way of paying in many places, there are some situations where you really need some cash. However, while ATM fees mean avoiding that, there is a way to get the best value when shopping for baht.
Take as much money as you think you will need per day in cash, your own currency, some note demonisation’s also get a better exchange rate and exchange it when you arrive in Phuket. 50 pound notes from UK get a slightly better rate than 20 pound notes. Avoid the airport exchanges, and do not go to banks, instead, use the kiosk exchanges you find all over. Not only do they offer better rates than banks or the airport exchanges, they will also offer a better exchange rate than you could get at home, and so to get the most baht for your money, that is the best solution. There is one exception in the airport in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport on the lowest floor there are a number of exchanges near the rail link where you will get a good exchange rate similar to what you will find on the streets of Phuket. Good to grab some cash if you have a few days in Bangkok before heading to Phuket.
However, walking around with large amounts of cash is obviously asking for trouble, so the best option is to balance what you need in cash and what you spend on a card, and a mix of the two is the best solution for the trip. Each day, you can exchange enough of your local currency into baht for what you have planned, and then keep the rest of the currency you brought with you in your hotel safe or other secure storage.
By approaching it this way, you minimize risks while giving yourself the widest options when it comes to paying. We are all different, and some may prefer the convenience of ATM machines even knowing the large fees involved, however with kiosk exchanges all over Phuket, you are never very far from one and they offer better value and easy exchange, so they really should be something you at least consider.
To get the most baht for your money, planning and preparation are key, but with significant savings on offer that will make your money go further on your vacation to Phuket, there is no question that it is worth the little bit of extra effort it takes to be organized and get the best deal on your money. Mixing local currency and card payments keep things as manageable and secure as you need, and will help make your trip to Phuket the wonderful experience you dreamed of.
Most hotels have safes which should be a good place to keep your cash without fear of it being stolen, but has an extra precaution buy a mini travel safe such as this one, these can either be put in the safe locked away, but just in case you are worried staff may have access, highly unlikely but for extra piece of mind you can always use the cable attached to these mini safes and hook it inside your suitcase. Suitcases have an internal liner that can be zipped open in there will be support bars that these will fit around locking into place zip it back up leave a few clothes on top and lock the case up.