Exchanging Money for International Travel
going abroad, and you'll be exchanging money. What is the best way to
do that? The short answer is to use the ATM. REALLY! Almost anywhere in
the world now, you'll find ATMs. Almost.
Try to check ahead before you go to know whether to take cash,
traveler's checks, ATM or credit cards. Traveler's checks aren't used
all that much anymore, but they're a good backup in case something goes
wrong with the credit cards and ATMs.
If you can't get money out of a cash machine, it
doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem with YOUR card. Those
electronic transactions have to be submitted and approved, there may be
communications problems in less developed counties; their readers might
not read your card; or (and this has happened) the bank ATM has run out
You may hear that exchanging money -- at least a little -- before you
travel is a good idea. That's not necessary. There are almost always
banks or money changers at the airport, and ATMs are everywhere....
well, almost everywhere. There are a few countries that won't accept
ATM cards from certain other countries. You do need to check this out.
You can find out in government advisories about each country.
If you're going to drive across the border to a country with a
different currency, you should check to see where you can change money
and if they'll take some other currency, like that of their neighbors
or Euros or Dollars.
If you think the exchange rate is going to change dramatically, and
you'll get a better deal exchanging money ahead... you might want to
give it a try. It's hard to time those money markets though.
Another reason for exchanging money before you leave is if you
want to familiarize yourself with that funny looking currency. Even if
you wait to change money on the road, do try to familiarize yourself
with the local currency so you don't fumble too much with it. If you
change your money once you get to your destination, it's best to
familiarize yourself with it in the privacy of your hotel room and not
You will fumble. Sometimes those little coins will be worth a dollar or
two or five.... or that 10,000 "Whatever" note could be worth about
five dollars! So try to get a rough idea of what those coins and bills
are worth. We've found that most people are helpful sorting out the
right change, but you should always be on guard for a scam artist that
might try to charge you too much because you can't figure out how much
you're paying fast enough.
If you're exchanging cash, change money only at reputable or
official locations. Black market money exchanges could get you in
trouble at worst or be scams where you'll lose money. If you do change
money at money exchangers, compare the exchange rates and commissions
carefully. ATMs are much more straight forward.
You should avoid buying more foreign currency than you actually
need. You will lose money if you need to convert back, and some
countries restrict the amount of their currency they permit you to take
out when leaving the country.
If you are traveling on a prepaid tour, you won't be exchanging
money as much. Also, you may be able to pay bar bills at lodges and
hotels in dollars or with your credit card. So check ahead, take credit
cards, ATMs and travelers checks and don't worry, you'll find plenty of
places to change them.
Expedite Your Passport Now!
Click to Call for Expedited Service!