8 Tips on Getting Currency for a Trip Abroad ...


One of the things many of us think about when traveling is where is the best place to exchange our money before we go, or even, is it necessary? There are many options available to us, but some of course come at a higher price than others. It can be a confusing exercise but hopefully these 8 tips on getting currency for a trip abroad will help you make the most from the options available.

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Use Your ATM Card when Overseas

Make sure that you check with your bank before you go that you can do this and tell them where you’re going and the dates. Some banks have good anti-fraud measures and will automatically put a stop on a card if they see it’s issued to you in say California, but it’s being used in France for example. Get their overseas telephone number just in case you need to call them too. The downside is that you may pay a higher ATM fee to do this, but it means you don’t have to think about getting the currency before you go (see point 2 below). You can also take as little or as much as you want from the ATM – just check withdrawal limits with your bank too before you go.


Be Careful Where You Use Your ATM Card Overseas

Never withdraw cash from ATMs at airports as these typically have very bad rates of exchange. Think of the high price of food and drinks at international airports. Well currency exchange is no different. So wait until you’re settled into your final destination. That may mean taking a taxi, train or bus. So it is wise to exchange a small amount of currency for a trip abroad before you travel, say $50 or $100. That way, you’re covered for getting from the airport to your hotel and you’re not carrying a lot of cash around. If you exchange $100 or $200 then you should be OK for a day or so.


Taking US Dollars for Exchange when Overseas

If you do take US dollars abroad, you’ll find that hotels often offer cash exchange but you may find that their rates are also expensive. So if you can, grab a map of the area and ask where the banks are as their rates will be so much better. Make sure if you’re considering taking US dollars with you, that you check the amounts of cash you’re allowed to take in to the country you’re visiting as often there are limits.


Note What the Current Exchange Rate is before You Go

Knowing what the current exchange rate is before you go will enable you to quickly see if an offered exchange rate is good value. If not, try another bank.


Travelers Checks

These have become less popular with the increase in card use, but still remain a safe way of getting your currency for a trip abroad.


American Express Gift Cards

These cards act like a pre-paid credit card, so you can load enough money on to the card before your trip, then use it when abroad anywhere that accepts Amex cards, although you’ll find a better rate at American Express offices. This is a great idea for younger people that may not have a credit card or ATM card and can help you budget for your trip.


Keeping Local Currency

If you’re going, for example to one part of Europe now, then another in 6 or 12 months time and the current exchange rate is good, you may want to keep some of the Euros you have from your first trip and use it on the second. It’s advisable to get rid of your coins when paying bills, but you may want to keep euro notes for the next trip and that way you’re getting your currency for your next trip abroad early and at a good exchange rate.


Check if Your Card is Accepted

Many European countries now use chip and pin technology for ATM and credit cards i.e. you just enter your pin number and no signature is taken. The US still uses the magnetic strip and swipe machines, so if you’re planning to use mostly cards, then before you go make sure you’ll be able to use the cards in your destination.

There are many options for getting your currency for a trip abroad. It just takes a bit of research to find the best ways that suit yourself and the type and length of trip you’re taking.

Top Photo Credit: CanadianAEh

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