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This is my first time travelling overseas by myself. I will be travelling from New Zealand to Fiji for one week.

I thought about bringing credit cards but it seems like many places charge an extra fee for using credit cards and some places don't accept them at all. I am also wary of my bank ripping me off on exchange rates every time I use my credit card.

So I want to bring cash. I calculated I need about $1000 Fiji dollars or more for my trip. This is a lot of cash to carry and I am scared to carry this much on myself as a tourist.

I saw some websites which offer a kind of debit-card where you pay in New Zealand dollar and they give you a card loaded with Fiji dollars. So my question is, will this be a good alternative to cash? If not what are some safe ways to carry cash around?

  • I am also wary of my bank ripping me off on exchange rates every time I use my credit card. On the contrary. Bank cards (ATM/credit cards) usualy provide some of the best exchange rates... – user67108 Aug 29 '17 at 3:31
  • @dda I checked online, many sites offer better rates than my bank. Not to mention there is also a surcharge for using my credit card. – Retsi Aug 29 '17 at 3:32
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    My experience, which is considerable, as I travel internationally every week for work, is that usually CC payments and ATM withdrawals have a better exchange rate than exchange bureaus (especially those at the airport). I wonder what those "sites" you mention are. Of course, if shops there charge extra for CC payments, you could just withdraw money in Fiji from an ATM. – user67108 Aug 29 '17 at 3:38
  • Ah I see. So you would recommend withdrawing cash from ATMs using CC? Edit- The site I was talking about was travelex.co.nz they offer "Travelex money cards" Their rate is on par with my banks rate minus the fees – Retsi Aug 29 '17 at 3:42
  • Well, my bank gave me two cards, an ATM card and a CC. I never use the CC to withdraw money (as that is basically equivalent to borrowing money from the CC company!), only the ATM card. But if you have a CC/ATM card, you can select the desired function. Travelex is probably the most expensive exchange bureau, one that avoid as much as I can. But maybe on NZ they are cheaper? Or your bank even more greedy? :-) – user67108 Aug 29 '17 at 3:51
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Regarding "carrying cash around with you" travel belts are the way to go in my experience. They can be worn under your clothes and aren't visible to others. Since you'll be wearing them around your waist and preferrably under a shirt, it's very hard for thiefes to simply cut them off (plus some travel belts offer protection against being cut off, since the material isn't easy to cut).

However, if you feel uncomfortable carrying large amounts of cash with you at all times, I suggest withdrawing cash at ATMs, since banks offer pretty good exchange rates. Some banks even offer limited free cash withdrawal (as in "up to 20 times per year without fees" or something like that), so it might be worth to open up a new account at a bank that offers something like this, if there's still time to do so.

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