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Travel Tips: Currency Exchange Tips To Save You Money

There are plenty of travel tips when it comes to money: how to budget it, how to keep it safe, what to do if you don’t have any etc etc. Today’s financial travel tip deals with the best protocols for when you have money, just not the the right kind. Currency exchange and rates aren’t the most complex thing to understand, but the hassle and fees can make it a pain for a traveler on a budget who has better things to do.

What is a Currency Exchange?

Currency Exchange

Local cash is important to have when traveling internationally

It’s always important to have cash, no matter where you go on vacation. It’s accepted everywhere and is the fastest, easiest way to get what you need from food to transportation and everything in between.

Long before swiping a credit card became the international way to pay, currency exchanges helped those traveling internationally for business or pleasure convert their greenbacks into the local currency. They still do that today, but finding the right place to convert your money is important because some exchanges charge higher fees to complete the transaction. 

RELATED: Don’t Show Me the Money! – Foreign bills can be fun

If you bank with a national chain like Bank of America, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Citibank etc, there’s a pretty good chance your closest branch has whatever currency you need and at lower rates than if you use the currency converter desk at the airport, for example, where fees are higher and exchange rates are worse. If you’re traveling far off the beaten path and you need an obscure currency, they may need to order it from elsewhere, so don’t wait until the last minute to get it done.

A currency converter app might be a good idea for those on a budget during the trip. If you’re looking at prices of food, souvenirs or anything else and it’s in the local currency, it can be tough to know exactly how much money you’re spending. Rather than guess, a converter app compiles the average exchange rate and let’s you know how much you’re spending. It’s perfect for those who are traveling on a tight budget where every dollar matters.

Using a Credit Card Abroad

If you’re using both cash and bringing your credit card, always make sure you call the card company and let them know where you’re going abroad and the dates you’ll be gone. That way, they won’t mark lunch for two in Lisbon, Portugal as fraudulent because you’re usually buying lunch in Columbus, Ohio. The card company will know where you are and make sure your card isn’t declined no matter where you roam.

At the end of your trip, it pays to wait to exchange your unspent cash back into your home currency at your bank rather than doing it at the airport.

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