It’s important as a traveller to carry a mixture of currencies at all times. Especially when you need to change countries so often and cross borders. Bear in mind that I haven’t lived or travelled in Europe for the last 4 years and you’ll realise why I’m telling you to ALWAYS carry US Dollars in your wallet/purse. It not only saves you money, it just is general good advice and common sense that I’ve learned through my vast travel repertoire.
Why are US Dollars a travel essential? Basically because in almost EVERY country you visit you can swap US Dollars for the local currency (North Korea is one exception – they use the Euro for foreigners rather than the NK Won). You simply cannot go wrong by carrying US Dollars at all times and you should get into the habit of it. AT least have a spare $20 US Dollar note at all times on your travels – it’s the single one most important currency to travel with (OK with the exception of when you’re in Europe and then it is the Euro…)
Here are a few times US Dollars have really helped me:
– Getting a Suriname Visa in Venezuela (this wasn’t just essential – it was mandatory – you can ONLY pay in US Dollars – not even Venezuelan Bolivares are accepted!)
– Spending money in Cambodia (they accept US Dollars as payment there)
– Getting a Laos Visa on the border at Thanaleng (they only accept Thai Baht and US Dollars)
Basically I have found that US Dollars just come in handy and they are widely accepted and easily changed everwyhere. I’m not saying you will SAVE a lot of money by doing this – you may not in fact, BUT your travel life will be much easier, trust me. When you end up in places like Venezuela and Cambodia you will see why they are the best foreign currency to have on you at any one time.
Check what currencies you need for South America on my excellent money tips page here.