Understanding Currency Exchange Before You Travel

You’ve bought your ticket, packed your bags and are ready to set out on your adventure-seeking journey — don’t forget your wallet, of course! During your travels, you’re going to have expenses while dining out, traveling and purchasing goods. If you’re traveling to another country, you’ll need to exchange your current dollars to the designated currency of the country you are journeying to.

currency exchange micrographic

1. Prepare Your Finances Before Departure

The last emotion you want to have when setting foot into a new country is confusion. Enjoy your trip by cutting out all needless hassles by ensuring prior preparation well in advance. Before departure, ask your bank or credit union if they have branches in the country you are traveling to. This will provide you with a greater ease of access of your money while abroad.

Also, make sure to investigate whether your bank is willing to exchange your foreign currency back to the designated dollars upon return. You want to avoid any additional fees and conversion charges to ensure yourself the highest amount of savings. If possible, consider obtaining a foreign credit or debit card. Using a card or bank account with locations in your intended travel location prevents the addition of unknowing charges and fees.

2. Educate Yourself

If you’re traveling to a specific country for the first time, familiarize yourself with the currency used in that country. While you may find yourself traveling to a country that accepts American dollars, you can avoid getting ripped off by hidden conversion fees by making purchases in the country’s currency instead.

You should also know the currency conversion rate to avoid unknowing losses. Understanding the true value of your currency will equip you with the knowledge necessary to avoid shortchanging yourself. For larger expenses, avoid cash and debit card transactions — use your credit card instead.

3. Plan for Your Return Conversion

After your trip is over, you may find yourself with leftover money you can’t use in America. Don’t worry about buying unnecessary items before your flight home to avoid this extra pocket change. Your best option for currency conversion is to travel to your local bank or credit union and inquire about their services. Many airports also provide you with the option to change your currency before departing on your flight back home, although their fees could be higher than your bank’s.

When you keep these tips in mind while planning your trip, you’ll save yourself both time and money during your travels. Plan your trip, conduct your research and enjoy your time abroad!