Which Currencies to Carry to the World’s Top Travel Destinations

If you are travelling to any of these 10 destinations soon, here is all you need to know about local and accepted currencies, and their various denominations.

  1. MALAYSIA

     Local Currency:

  • Ringgit (MYR; symbol RM) = 100 sen. The Ringgit is often referred to as the Malaysian Dollar.
  • Notes are in denominations of RM100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 sen. Malaysian Ringgit

     Other Accepted Currencies:

  • US Dollar (USD), Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • Some establishments, like larger hotels, might also accept payments in foreign currencies such as Yen, US-Dollar or Euro.
  • Popular international credit and debit cards, such as VISA, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro are generally accepted nationwide in larger establishments.
  1. CAMBODIA

     Local Currency:

  • The national currency of Cambodia is called RIEL (pronounced as in the English word “real”). 1 Cambodian Riel = 100 sen or 10 kak
  • The letters written before the figure of an amount is “KHR”, such as, for example, KHR1,000.00. “KHR” means Khmer Riel.

     Other Accepted Currencies:

  • The most readily accepted foreign currency in Cambodia is the U.S. Dollar. It is even accepted on local public transport!
  1. VIETNAM

        Local Currency:

  • Vietnamese dong. 1 Vietnamese Dong = 100 xu or 10 hào
  • The largest cash note available is 100,000 VND (roughly USD $5.00). Other notes range from 200 VND to 500,000 VND. In 2003, the Vietnamese government reintroduced coins, in denominations of 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 dong.
  • It is also common for gold to be used for purchasing land and housing, while the dong is used for day-to-day items.

      Other Accepted Currencies:

  • US dollars
  • The U.S. dollar is also readily accepted in most locations, but is commonly used to purchase luxury items.
  • Other major currencies like AUD and Euros can be used after converting to Dong.
  • Most ATMs will accept Visa and Mastercard debit or credit cards – but be wary of high charges from your bank if you make a withdrawal on a credit card.
  1. BALI

     Local Currency:

  • The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is the local currency, commonly also abbreviated to Rp. 1 Indonesian Rupiah = 100 sen
  • Denominations of Rp.100 and 100 are in the form of coins, 500 and 1,000 are in either coins or bills, and Rp. 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 are only available in bills.

     Other Accepted Currencies:

  • The US dollar and nowadays, the EURO are the preferred foreign currencies in Bali; the Australian dollar is also not a problem & is accepted at most establishments. Always bring new, clean US$ bank notes which are not damaged in any way
  • Visa and Mastercard are accepted by most – American Express and JCB in more recent times, is much less accepted.
  1. FAROE ISLANDS

       Local Currency:

  • Faroese króna, Danish krone. While the Faroese government prints its own bank notes, only Danish coins are used. Danish notes are as equally acceptable as Faroese notes throughout the country.
  • 1 Danish Krone = 100 øre
  • This series of banknotes comprises 5 denominations: 50 kroner, 100 kroner, 200 kroner, 500 kroner and 1000 kroner. The coin (only Danish) series comprises six denominations: 50 øre (cents), and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 kroner.
  • Most shops, restaurants, petrol stations, hotels and taxies accept credit cards, mainly VISA, but other credit cards, such as MasterCard, Eurocard, Maestro and JCB, are also accepted in large stores, shopping centres and restaurants. Most places DO NOT accept American Express.

       Other Accepted Currencies:

  • There may be a few places in the major towns that accept foreign currency, but it is more the exception than the rule, and, unsurprisingly, the exchange rate is rarely favourable.
  1. EASTER ISLAND

        Local Currency:

  • The local currency of Easter Island is the Chilean peso, which comes in notes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 pesos.
  • 1 Chilean peso = 100 centavos
  • Chilean currency is almost worthless outside Chile, so only change what you’re sure you’ll need, and get rid of the remainder before you leave. Duty-free purchases aboard LanChile flights can be paid for in pesos.

Other Accepted Currencies:

  • All tourist-oriented establishments accept dollars as payment, though not always at good rates.
  • An ATM inside the bank gives cash advances on MasterCard; cash advances on Visa cards are available at the counter (US$200 daily maximum). All cash advances are paid out in pesos, not dollars.
  • Credit cards are rarely usable on Easter Island 
  1. ANTARTICA

       Local Currency:

  • Antarctic Dollar: While you can buy this currency down here, it is not legal tender. There is no official Antarctic currency.

      Other Accepted Currencies:

  • At McMurdo, you can use the US dollar.
  • While there is not a bank, there are ATM machines available. The store also accepts credit cards.
  • Scott Base, uses either the New Zealand dollar or the US dollar
  1. MOSCOW

     Local Currency

  • The official Russian currency is Rubles (rub`li). 1 rouble = 100 kopeek
  • Frequently used Banknotes are 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 rubles. Coins are 10, 50 kopeks, 1, 2, 5, 10 rubles

      Other Accepted Currencies:

  • It’s not legal to use US dollars or Euro for transactions in Russia. However, you’ll still see a lot of prices marked in Y.E. (which means “units” and usually equals the current US dollar or Euro rate).
  • It’s better to have some cash ($200-400 US – just enough for initial expenses – transport, accommodation, food) when you come to Russia and the rest – on your credit card.
  • US dollars/Euro
  • There’re many cash machines in Moscow, St. Petersburg and major Siberian cities, and a lot of shops and restaurants accept cards in the big cities. However, as soon as you go to smaller towns, you’ll find it hard to use your credit card.
  1. RIO-DE-JANEIRO

       Local Currency:

  • The Brazil currency is the “Real” (pronounced ray-all) or plural “Reais” (pronounced ray-eyes), and is denoted as R$. 1 Real = 100 centavos
  • The real comes in coin denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos and 1 real. Bank notes are available in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 reals.
  • Cash, credit cards and debit cards are all widely used.

    Other Accepted Currencies:

  • While it is relatively easy to exchange any currency for reals in both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, in smaller cities it can sometimes become a time consuming and costly endeavor. One traveler reported that a branch of one bank in a smaller city in the interior wanted to charge a USD$ 50.00 fee to exchange USD$ 250.00 into reais at the worst possible exchange rate. Traveler’s checks are almost impossible to use anywhere except the very largest cities, and even then, only at certain currency exchanges.
  • Most hotels, restaurants and stores in Brazil readily accept Visa and Master Card. American Express cards are not as widely accepted 
  1. AMSTERDAM

    Local Currency:

  • In Amsterdam (and in the rest of Netherlands) you can use the Euro. 1 Euro = 100 cents
  • There are 8 coins; 1, 2 and 5 cent, 10, 20 and 50 cent, 1 and 2 Euro coins. Then there are the bills of 5, 10, 20 and 50 Euro, 100, 200 and 500 Euro notes. Not many places will accept the 500 Euro note however.
  • The Dutch guilder was the currency of the Netherlands from the 17th century until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro.

    Other Accepted Currencies:

  • USD can be used but it is better to convert your money into Euros if using cash.
  • DON’T use the option of paying in US Dollars using your credit card only because the rate is probably not as good as your card company will give, and if your card has a surcharge for international transactions, you’ll have to pay that surcharge even if the transaction is in US Dollars.
  • If you have a foreign bank card with a Cirrus logo you can get money from an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Some ABN AMRO bank ATMs also accept cards with the PLUS logo. Also check your card and the ATM for EDC, EC and Maestro logos. Note that the logos on the back of your card (Cirrus, Maestro or PLUS) are more important than the logos on the front of your card. Stick with machines that carry one or more of the logos matching those on the back of your card.

View an Infographic for this post here.