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Tips for Stretching Your Travel Budget in Vietnam

by Xchange Of America ~ August 9th, 2015

One of the easiest ways to stretch your Vietnam travel budget is to exchange your currency before leaving your country. By doing so you ensure that you’ll get a better rate and you won’t have to pay the Vietnamese bank a commission for doing something you can easily do at home.

Waiting in Line is the Worst

Airports in Vietnam charge hefty fees because they know many travels come unprepared. Do your research early to find the best exchange rate possible. Then travel with ease knowing you have the Vietnamese dong needed to take care of your expenses straight off the airplane. Waiting in line wastes valuable time and you’re ready for some relaxation after that long flight, right?

Act Like a Local

Some other tips that help you manage your money better is to do as the locals do. It may sound cliché but if you want to immerse yourself in another culture, you need to learn its people’s secrets. Strike up a conversation with Vietnamese people. Ask what they recommend you see, eat, and visit.

Some of the experiences you can have in Vietnam include visiting the beautiful pagodas throughout the country. Visit Hanoi and feel the energy of the bustling city. Crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels. Find out what it was like to be a part of the Viet Cong in the 1960s. Last but not least, don’t miss the beauty of Cuc Phuong National Park. It’s home to over 2,000 species of trees as well as beautiful wildlife like the Clouded leopard.

Eat local food

Eating local food is one of the best ways to get the full Vietnam experience and you will spend much less money on local food than you would at restaurants. The quality of local food is often just as good if not better than what you would find at a restaurant. There are even websites where you can meet local hosts and cook with them or pay for them to cook for you, and there are thousands of options for street vendors and other vendors who sell different local meals. Do a bit of research on the area that you are traveling to and get some information about the type of food there, and find the local vendors and avoid going to well known restaurant chains.

Take the Bus or Train

Traveling in Vietnam by bus is cost-effective. The train from Danang to Hanoi costs around 758,000 Vietnamese dong. If you’re interested in taking a private tour, learn who offers the best deal. Keep in mind that although tipping is not a requirement, it reflects well on you as a person. Having some basic knowledge of the currency allows you to control the situation with ease by compensating your driver or guide with the right amount of dong each day.

Tipping is a Generous Gesture

Keep Vietnamese dong in different denominations to give to the people who help you get around while traveling. They’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll have access to someone who knows a city inside and out. They’ll tell you where the best places to eat, drink, and enjoy entertainment are at.

Three Things You Need to Do to Prepare for Your Trip to Iraq

by Xchange Of America ~ August 8th, 2015

As any good traveler tells you, it pays to plan ahead. By researching the currency common in Iraq, you do two things. First, you avoid making the mistake of exchanging your cash for the wrong money. Next, you’re able to get a better exchange rate than you would at the banks in Iraq. That’s why it makes sense to do this before you leave the country.

Be Hotel Ready Right Away

Buy dinars and take care of the small expenses you incur straight out of the airport or train station. You won’t lose sleep waiting in line at the currency exchange counter. You’ll be able to catch a ride to the hotel where a delicious meal and nice comfortable bed awaits you. You’ll be able to tip your cab driver generously because you’ll have currency on hand that he accepts.

Don’t wait until the last minute

If you want until the last minute to buy dinars before you travel, you’ll end up potentially having to spend money at an expensive overseas or airport currency exchange. You may end up spending substantially more money than you expected, so don’t wait until the last second to buy dinars and be sure to purchase them ahead of time so that you can get a good exchange rate without service fees. Service fees will add up and can add unexpected costs to your trip, and you may end up also having to take the time out for unexpected detours to currency exchanges.

Pack for the Weather

Other things that make your trip easier is packing for the climate. If you haven’t been to Iraq before, you’ll want to research what the weather is like at the time of your travels. You don’t want to be overdressed or underdressed. A packing list helps you stay organized. You’ll know what you have in your luggage and which items remain in your carry-on bag.

Iraq has long, hot summers followed by short, cool winters. Lightweight cotton clothing is advisable during the hotter months. Waterproof clothing as well as heavier sweaters and jackets make winter months comfortable. Layering heavier clothing over lighter clothing and removing layers as necessary is one way to avoid being too hot or too cold while in Iraq.

Read Up on Iraqi Customs

It’s important to read up on other country’s customs before visiting. Avoid ugly stereotypes by being a good guest. Go out of your way not to offend anyone. For example, if you’re staying in someone’s home, it’s nice to bring cookies, pastries or a box of chocolate. Extend both hands when giving a gift.

Learn when to tip and how much. Again, it’s important to buy Iraqi dinars before you leave home so you’ll have currency on you at all times. You’re going to need it throughout your stay.
Avoid the hassle by knowing how much each bill or coin represents. Round up tips to make sure the person assisting you receives compensation for in dinars for what they’ve done. It’s a good habit to get into if you plan on visiting Iraq again.

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