currency exchange

Currency exchange: some tips

Traveling I learned how to manage the basic things. One of them is currency exchange. When I go abroad I have always in my wallet a credit card and some cash. My currency is Euro, but not all countries use it, so I have to convert the amount in local money. It is useful to have the cash to buy small things, but sometimes also to pay for a restaurant or a hotel. Because some places do not accept credit cards. Well, regarding this topic I want to share some tips. There are many elements to keep into consideration to get better conditions and avoid the risks.

Currency exchange: the rates

This is the most important aspect. The rate of the currency exchange indicates you how much local money you can have with your cash. You will convert your money into the local currency and it will be calculated the value. According to the daily worth. Anyway, you need to consider that the rate published in the newspaper or online by specialized websites is different from the one applied by banks. In fact, there is a commission, a fee that you have to pay to exchange your money.

Therefore the first step is to check the official rate to have an idea about the worth. Then you can compare and make the calculation with the price applied by the currency exchange rate. In this way, you know exactly the cost you need to pay to have local money. You have the necessary to evaluate what it the best rate (commission included) offered. This is the step to save money.


Currency exchange: the converters

If you don’t know how to make the calculation or where to find the official rate, you can easily use a converter. What is it? A tool that makes an automatic check and it tells you the amount of money is worth in foreign currency. It works with the rate of the day. Where can you find it? I should answer everywhere, but let’s check together how can you find a converter for the currency exchange.




Are you using a smartphone? Don’t lose time on the web, just download a currency exchange converter App. You can install it on your mobile and do the process every time you need without to search for a website each time. The online resources I mentioned have their Apps and you can use them, otherwise search on Google Play or iOS Store. They are free. Of course, you have to be connected to the internet when you do the conversion.



Do you prefer the traditional way? You don’t need to check websites or install an App. There are exchange currency converter devices. They are calculators with the specific option. In this case, you need to check the exchange rate of the day and then do the calculation. It is necessary to enter the rate because the device has no way to be updated.

Another way to know the amount of local money you can get with your cash concern the simple use of a calculator. All the process is made by yourself. It is enough the calculator already installed on your mobile. I give you an example. I have in my wallet 100 Euros and I want to buy US dollars. Checking the official rate I see that 1 Euro is equal to 1,14 USD. So I multiply 100 x 1,14 and I obtain the amount of USD that I can get: 114.

Currency exchange rates

At the end of the conversion, I know exactly what I can buy, but in reality, it is not what I will obtain. Why? Because I have to cut from the total amount the fee. I need to pay the commission to the bank or the agency that is doing the currency exchange, selling me the local money. They are going to buy my currency also. So the office has to consider the two rates: the one to buy my currency and the one to sell me their currency. The difference is their profit. Plus they will add a small commission. It happens for banks, hotels and all the agencies who will do the operation.

The fees

There are always commissions on your currency exchange. Also if you withdraw the money with your credit card from an ATM. Your bank will charge some fees for any withdrawal in a foreign currency. It is possible to pay also a transaction fee. To know the details you have to check the conditions proposed by the credit card company and by your bank. In case of doubts call them and ask.

For this reason, I suggest you to not go to ATM many times, but to withdraw all the amount you need one time. You will reduce costs. Let me give another tip for the currency exchange. Compare different offers of banks or sign a contract for an independent credit card company that gives you better conditions.

Where can you exchange currency abroad?

The question could be this one: is more convenient to exchange at home before to leave or at my arrival? Well, it depends on the currency you are searching for and on the fees applied by your bank. In some cases, it is good to have the local money before to leave. But don’t forget one more thing. Some countries will accept easily US dollars, meanwhile, it will be more difficult with Euro or vice-versa. So keep in mind this and exchange currency between Euro and US dollars according to your destination.

currency exchange 

At home


If you have an account with a large bank, you will be able to exchange currency before to leave. Be careful about the fees. Usually, they apply high commissions. In the alternative, you can purchase a prepaid debit card and charge what you need for the expenses. But again there are some costs and fees for the withdrawal.



If you live with your own currency, you can exchange it at your destination. The first option is to go to the bank. It is safer, but the fees can be high. Also consider that some banks, it happens in the USA, exchange currency only for their clients. Therefore you will not able to obtain the service. Check when you enter.



The automated teller machines give you the opportunity to have money with your credit or debit card. You can withdraw local money from the ATM. Also if there is a fee to pay, I suggest you print out online lists of Visa and MasterCard-owned ATMs before you leave home. It will be easier to find them, losing less time in their location. Check also the instructions to use the Pin Code, in some countries you need four or five numbers in the code.

Airports and seaports

The currency exchange is available in the main airports and seaports in the world. There are offices for that, usually, provided by the main banks or currency exchange companies. They have the highest rates so do it only if you really need it and exchange a small amount of money. In case keep in mind that there are also ATM inside the airports and the seaports. My tip is to exchange the money you need to pay the transfer to your hotel.


The hotels, especially the biggest, offer a currency exchange service for their guests. This is any way in addition to the normal activity of the hotel, so, for this reason, they apply a high commission. It is not always convenient, it is better to go to the bank. I suggest you do it also if you are in need or the offices are closed. Never for a huge amount of money.

Safety tips

In the end, I want to give you some more tips about your safety. When you plan your trip call your bank and give them a list of the countries you will visit. Why? Will they ask for a postcard? Maybe, but you have to do it because they will be aware that you will be in a certain place. So when you spend money and maybe they are not able to get in touch with you, they won’t block your credit card. Why should they do it? For suspicious use of the card. You can also contact the credit or debit card company for the same reason.


As I mentioned before while you withdraw money from an ATM take a huge amount of money. Why? Because you will cut the transaction costs. It is a way to save money. It is better to have them in the wallet than give more cash to the bank. Of course, be careful putting them in your wallet, take some precautions to prevent thieves. They can be around the ATM. Read my travel planner tips for this.

Use a credit or debit card for the payments, you can block it easily if someone steals it or if you lose it. Also, keep all the receipts, so when you go back home you can check the credit card statement and see if everything is correct. If you notice some duplicate or unauthorized charges, call immediately the bank. Pay always attention to these tips when you need currency exchange.

Check out my other post about money to get more tips. Subscribing to my newsletter you can receive updates and extra contents weekly to your inbox.

Enjoy your trip!

currency exchange

2 thoughts on “Currency exchange: some tips”

  1. I think so, but I wanted to give more options 🙂 Thanks for your comment dear Nick, share experience is the best way to give tips

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