Guide to Exchanging Foreign Currency

Exchanging foreign currency does not have to be so exhausting as to require a vacation to recuperate from the experience. Planning ahead can save you time and money. If you are one of those individuals who mysteriously falls prey to unfortunate mishaps, which render all of the planning in the world virtually useless, do not go getting all stressed out. No matter what you have been told in your lifetime, there is still hope for you.

Once you have decided upon a travel destination and have made all of the necessary preparations in regards to booking flights, hotels and other such tasks, you may wish to go ahead and exchange currency prior to your departure. A good place to start looking is at major banks and popular travel agencies. Consider utilizing online currency exchange programs to help get your trip off to a smooth start. Some advantages of exchanging currency ahead of time are:

  • You can alleviate last-minute stress.
  • You will be able to avoid ATM fees and unwanted credit card charges associated with completing foreign currency exchanges abroad.
  • You can evade long lines at the airport currency exchange desk and escape the hefty charges that are generally your gift for patiently waiting in line.

Familiarizing yourself with foreign currency conversion rates before traveling will help you avoid confusion at a later date. The best way to get educated is to refer to a currency conversion chart for an idea of the most current exchange rates. This will help you understand how much your money is worth as opposed to the value of the currency used in the country you will be visiting.

The world is full of procrastinators; if you happen to be one, you will likely be desperately seeking foreign currency upon arrival at your destination. If this happens to be how you, for some strange reason, prefer to operate, there are a number of ways to go about exchanging foreign currency abroad. Any of the following options will get you the currency you need, as long as you do not mind paying the fees involved:

  1. You can slide on over to the currency exchange desk at the airport and stand in line. Keep a snack in one of your bags because you could be there a while; without the right currency you will not likely find anything to eat at the airport. Additionally, the fees assessed at an airport kiosk are likely to be the highest you will find.
  2. You might try dashing to the nearest ATM armed with your credit card or debit card and a working PIN number. This is often considered to be your best option; the fee is not much different from the one you would pay at home if you used an ATM outside of your specific network. You should withdraw a fair amount to avoid the additional fees you will incur per transaction if you do not. One other point you may wish to clear up is whether or not your card company charges additional fees for overseas use; some credit card companies do impose such fees on card holders.
  3. If you feel the need to lug your bags all over the city (cabs require the correct currency) looking for a bank at which to exchange your funds for foreign currency, knock yourself out. Remember, you will be charged higher fees than you would through an ATM but the fees may be lower than those you would be assaulted with at the airport.

As you can see, there is nothing to fear as far as exchanging foreign currency is concerned, except the fees imposed on less prepared travelers. 

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