Howdy, folks. I have a trip in December to Tokyo, Jakarta, and Bali, and this is the point in a big trip when I start to plan out some of the small details– how will my cell phone work, how will I buy stuff, etc. Happily, both Japan and Indonesia and pretty credit card friendly (in theory, anyway). However, I don’t like to go places without at least a little bit of cash to get me started. The exchange rates aren’t great, although Bank of America had a much better deal than did, say, Travelex. With Bank of America, you do have to have an existing checking or savings account. It is worth checking with your bank to see what sort of exchange rate they will offer you. I got about $200 worth of each currency so I would have something as soon as I land.
You wanna feel rich? Order 2,500,000 rupiah and 20,000 yen. The numbers on the dollars I handle routinely are rather small than that. I will let you know after I get there whether this was a good idea or whether I should have simply waited until I arrived.