I always find it hard to handle cash and the problem doubles when I travel abroad, because it involves exchanging Indian currency. Currency exchange used to give me a lot of stress, not to forget that INR is always less than most other countries of tourist interest; oh, how I wait for the day when INR would be close to USD!
I have been exploring different currency exchange tips for my international trips, since the last few years. As many of you have asked me how I tackle the situation now, here is a post dedicated to currency exchange when you plan travel to an international destination.
Foreign exchange is not complicated at all, but you need to check a few things before you do it. The tips in this post are all from my personal experience. I am not going to touch the economy element or the various credit card schemes here because that makes for another detailed post in itself. What I am doing, instead, is to share the basic tactics that have helped me and I hope will also assist you to deal with currency exchange matters easily, without stressing over it.
Are you all set for your first international trip but worried about currency exchange?
Are you looking for some tips that will help you understand how to use cash when you travel abroad?
Are you, like me, stressed about the fact that bank fees are rising constantly and foreign exchange rates are in constant flux?
Are you wondering what is the best way to convert your money?
I will try to answer all these questions in this post. Here we go!
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3 Tips for Currency Exchange When You Travel Abroad:
1. Exchange your currency prior to your travel date.
I do not recommend exchanging currency at the airports as they charge higher rates. Also, it is the last minute resort and if the airport exchange counter doesn’t have the currency you need, you can get into unnecessary trouble.
There are various foreign exchange offices in every city, research about them and go to the one that offers the best rates. Watch out for any hidden fee. If you plan your trip in advance, you will have enough time in hand before you head to the airport. Make use of the time and get your currency exchanged before you commence your journey.
[ Speaking of International Travel plans, read one of my favorite recent posts: 10 Things To Do in Jerusalem ]
2. Get in touch with your bank before the trip about the usage of your credit and debit cards.
A friend of mine recently indulged in the marvels of Spain Tourism, and before she flew to the country she approached her bank in Delhi. She found out about the exchange rates on using her cards in Spain and got her credit card approved for international transactions. She says that it was extremely easy, but I would say that it also depends on which bank you’re dealing with.
Remember this: Use your ATM/Debit Card to withdraw money abroad, and use Credit Card for making purchases. Call up your bank and find out the details beforehand.
[ Oh, btw – Check out this super cute Passport Cover I’m eyeing. Will get it for my next trip for sure! ]
3. When in doubt or trouble, exchange INR to USD.
This is something I’ve learnt through personal experience. I did not find Hong Kong dollars at the Delhi international airport, last-minute troubles as I mentioned before. So, after panicking a little, I got my money exchanged to USD. Besides getting my currency exchanged at a higher rate, as I mentioned in the first point, I did not have to face any problem with the currency during the entire trip. This is because, in every country around the world USD is the most easily exchanged currency.
[ Travelling with kids? You might like to read my post: Tips To Travel With Toddlers: 10 Items To Consider For a Comfortable Trip ]
Hence, if you cannot get the desired currency at first for any reason (be it urgency, bad luck, etc. — all have happened to me), exchange a small amount to USD and then change it to the local currency once you reach your destination. Surely, you will have to pay the conversion charges twice, but I think it is always good to keep some local currency in cash when you are traveling, as a fallback or an emergency reserve.
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These are my top three tips for anyone who is going on their first international trip and is trying to understand foreign currency exchange.
Have a hassle-free trip!