Money on the Road: Tips for Dealing With Foreign Currencies
Travelling can be an amazing experience – but if there’s one thing only you will definitely want to be careful with when doing this, that is most definitely your money. Dealing with foreign currencies can be a bit tricky at times, that’s true – but with a bit of know-how you can save yourself a lot of trouble (and money too). Check out with some of the most important bits of advice on dealing with foreign currency when travelling and be prepared:
Send Money Overseas Before You Go!
This is a great way to save hassles and currency conversion fees. Taking money out in small bits at ATMs can be expensive, time consuming and somewhat insecure. If you’re planning to be in one location for a while, why not look into opening a bank account there and sending money overseas in a big lump. This is especially helpful if you’re planning to work there or spend more than a few months in the same place. Global Money Transfers are the cheapest, most secure and reliable way to get decent sums of money overseas.
Really, don’t even start packing your bags before doing your homework on the currency of the place you’re visiting. In Europe, most of the countries have switched to Euros, but that’s not generally valid (for instance, the UK and Sweden have stuck with their national currency and they haven’t made the switch). This means that if you don’t do your research well enough, you will end up with a lot of money you cannot actually use in the country you’re visiting, you will have to exchange them for the national currency used there and hence, you will lose money in the process.
Even more than this, make sure you research how the money looks and the coinage as well. The last thing you want is to fumble searching for that 1 bill. There’s nothing to say “tourist” more than that. And having a “tourist” label on your forehead can be quite dangerous when travelling – regardless of what country you’re in.
How You Exchange Does Make a Difference
Don’t leave the currency exchange part for the last. Chances are that you will find much, much better exchange rates outside of the country where a particular currency is used. Save yourself the money (up to 5% of it!) and the trouble and make the exchange before you embark on your plane or bus! Even so, make sure you do research the best exchange rates and that you don’t settle for the first place that allows you to exchange currency just because it’s more convenient this way.
Furthermore, if you really have to exchange money in the country you’re visiting, make sure you do it far, far away from the airport or for any “touristy” spots. There’s a very high probability that these places will have exchange rates that benefit nobody else aside from them. Walking a bit will give you the chance to find better exchange rates – and it will also provide you with the opportunity to see more of the nice places your destination has to offer.
Oh, and here’s an extra tip: coins are usually not exchangeable, so you should avoid getting stocked with them because you will most probably bring them back home as “souvenirs”.
What about Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs?
Using a credit or debit card when you travel is a good idea – but first, you should make sure to find that which is the most advantageous for you. You can use it directly for larger purchases (such as buying plane tickets and accommodation, for example) and you can use it to withdraw money from ATMs as well. When using the credit or debit card as such, you will most likely get the best conversion rate (better than exchanging cash or travellers’ checks). If you do withdraw money from the ATMs, remind yourself to withdraw as much as possible at once because this way you will cushion the withdrawal fees.