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Currency Exchange - Money Saving Travel Tips

Traveling to a foreign country brings with it a lot of planning, and one of the most difficult things about visiting another country is exchanging your own currency into local cash. How can you make sure that you have enough money, that you are not getting ripped off by fees and exchange rates, and that you can get more cash if you need it without paying an arm and a leg?

In this article, we will go over a few of our top tips for saving money before, after, and during your trip, and how you can convert currency at the most favorable rates, no matter where you are. Let's get started.

1. Convert Your Currency Before Your Trip at A Bank or Credit Union

First things first. Before you even leave the country, you should consider converting most of your budget into the currency of your destination. Why? There are a few reasons.

Most importantly, you will get a better deal. Most banks or credit unions offer currency conversion for a nominal fee, you will save a lot of money, compared to exchanging your currency at your destination.

This is because every country has its own fee ranges per currency exchange that you will be charged. You may use a free conversion calculator to convert your current currency to the one that is valid in the state you are about to fly. This is how you can better estimate the fee you need to pay for the total amount you are going to exchange.  

However, this also can help you budget more effectively for your trip. It is also typically easier, as you will get better customer service at the bank, and there will not be any issues with any language barriers.

2. During Your Trip, Skip the Exchange Kiosks at The Airport or Hotel and Use Your ATM Card

So, you have spent most of your local currency, and you think you will need a bit more to tide you over until your trip is over. Think twice before heading to the local currency exchange desk or asking your hotel for exchange services. You will pay a ton of money in fees and may not get the best exchange rate.

So, what's the best option? Pulling cash directly from an ATM! Most large banks have international ATM networks, which will allow you to pull cash directly from your account, with a nominal fee of 1 to 3% of the transaction's value.

This is your best option. Don't visit a currency exchange counter unless your bank doesn't offer this service or if the fees are too high for out-of-network ATMs.

3. Know Your Options for Currency Buyback After Your Trip Is Over

If you have extra cash after your trip is over, you'll want to make sure that your bank or credit union will convert it back once you get home. Many large banks will do so.

However, not all banks will buy back every type of currency, particularly from smaller countries. If you can't find a bank that will take your currency back, head to an airport kiosk or exchange counter. You won't get the best rate, but you will be able to convert your cash which would otherwise be useless at home. You can use cash advances to get fast cash before or after a trip.

Follow These Tips and Save Before, During, And After Your Trip

If you follow these three simple tips - getting currency at a local bank before your trip, using your ATM card to get more cash while abroad, and making sure you can exchange your cash before you leave the country, you'll be able to avoid steep fees, and you'll always have plenty of money during your trip.