Planning a trip? Most often you take extra care and research a lot when it comes tosaving money on flights and accommodation, but tend to completely ignore a big travel money black hole–the foreign exchange conversion fees! No matter how strong your home currency is, you can still end up losing money if you aren’t making sure that you’re getting the best exchange rates possible.
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How to get the best exchange rates while travelling
So here are some tips to make sure that you can get the most bang for your buck and get the best exchange rates while travelling:
Be aware of the currency you’re holding
Research and be aware of the value of the currency you have with you. Converting to and from dollars and Euro may not be hard, but that’s not the case with all foreign currencies. And, not all countries in the European Union accept the Euro. So it would be cheaper to use the local currency in such cases.
Some countries, especially in Southeast Asia, accept two currencies and some others like the Moroccan Dirham cannot be exchanged internationally. Countries like Cuba has two official currencies–one for locals and the other for tourists. So before you set out on a trip, make sure you have researched on such things about the local currency and the currency you currently hold.\
Find a card that offers competitive exchange rates
Nowadays there is a wide variety of travel cards that offer competitive exchange rates and even free withdrawals from international ATMs. So again be sure to research about the best available options instead of just resorting to your regular credit or debit card.
Check out for withdrawal limits and how much money you can hold on the card. Some cards like the TransferWise Borderless Card allow you to hold money in more than 40 currencies, which means you don’t pay any conversion fees at all. Also, find out how long it would take to load these cards with money and whether they can be used in the maximum number of countries on your list. Read more about the best travel credit and debit cards here.
Know the current exchange rates
Knowledge is power, isn’t it? As exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, it would help to have constant access to them. Knowing the current rate helps you stay away from bad deals or from getting cheated out of paying more than needed at shops and attractions. This will also help you not get carried away by the “zero commission” claims made by travel money providers.
To stay updated on the current exchange rates, check the Currencies section on Wallet Now.
Avoid exchange rate kiosks
As mentioned above, you’ll find many “zero commission” money exchange kiosks starting from the airport and train stations to every street corner. They may charge you zero commission but compensate for that by offering you a poor exchange rate and making a huge profit margin in the process.
The most cost-effective way of converting your currency is to withdraw local currency from an ATM. Now you can also pay by international cards while shopping in most cities around the world. In case you still need cash and can’t find an ATM, your best bet is to go to the branch of a large, reputable bank.