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.
Currency exchange rates
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy your trip!