Ever wonder where you should exchange your dollars or Euros, money, when you travel? Well here are a few tips on the best and worst places to exchange your currency while you are traveling.
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I found that post offices often times have the best exchange rate. In Canada, every bank is pretty good with exchanging. If you do go to an airport, exchange about 100$-200$ USD just to get by and shop around. In Thailand for example, many banks offer pretty reasonable exchanges. Also note, in many countries, have clean unmarked bills (especially the Where’s George markings) otherwise they will turn you away
No never. Using bank card from another country is usually the most expansive way to exchange money. The best is, to buy some popular currency before leaving your country (ie. EUR or USD) and then go to exchange office to buy local money, but do it in the city, not in the airport (in airports and railway stations there is usually more expansive).
I tried this on my recent trip vs exchanging before I went. I didn't have any euro or pounds when I landed, I withdrew a small amount from a free ATM for tips and bus fare and used my credit card with no exchange fees for larger purchases. I saved so much money! And since I was alone, I felt much safer not hauling around a wad of cash.
Mark, I'm an American that has been living in Poland for 7 years, and to be honest, your recommendations aren't correct. I've never seen banks with good rates in any country in Europe. It's best to be aware of the rate and walk around to an exchange office that has a rate with no more than a 2% margin.
In Korea, I found that Citibank has the best exchange rate and the worst locations. By that I mean, they are hard to find. And when I did not have a Citibank account, it took 2 hours to complete the paperwork.
I also understand that where you can pay with a CC, they have among the best exchange rates. I try to have two different types of card that do not charge a foreign transaction fee. AMEX is not always accepted so I also have a mastercard. Most of my foreign travel is in the Caribbean where dollars are almost universally accepted though in some places change will be given in local currency, usually just the coin portion.
My UK bank is Barclays. I use my debit card to take cash from an ATM this is what happens. Firstly, the exchange rate is terrible. Secondly, I'm charged a transaction fee and a foreign currency handling fee. Thirdly, the local Thai banking system charges an ATM usage fee. For £300 withdrawal, I get charged about£10 not including the crappy exchange rate! Wtf..!
Nathan Williams I find the post office normally has the best rate in the UK, however for longer trips where you don't want to take that much cash with you that crappy bank rate is unfortunately probably the best you can get.
Just thought of something. I understand that when you travel to Europe many countries like Spain or France will give you only a 3 month visa. Is there a way to get a longer tourist visa so you could actually stay in the EU longer to immerse yourself in the culture of a country or two at more leisurely pace?
What is your advice for what to do with any left over foreign cash, once you are at the next stop? I learned the hard way not to use the airport exchange when I gave them $40 worth of Japanese currency, and they gave me back about $18 worth of Chinese. Haha
As far as my experiences are concerned, I consider using my card as not the most convenient option. The exchange rate tends to always be worse than in exchange points one can find in, at least, bigger cities in Europe, and at least Polish banks often charge extra for an international payment.
I definitely wouldn't advice to exchange money in a bank (bad exchange rate) or Western Union (example: in Prague, if you change currency from Euro, the commision is 27%!!!) either. Being in Europe it is most convenient to have already Euro (in countries with another currency like Poland, Czech Republic)/Dollars in cash and find a local exchange point without commision. There is plenty of such places in touristic cities, but one should always be very careful and check the information before using their service, as for example the current exchange rate etc. (I can recommend the XE currency converter).
And guys - please, never exchange money on streets! In Prague there is a plague of scammers who try to sell tourists old Belarussian rubles instead of Czech crowns. Even if you exchange money in a dedicated place, check before in the Internet how it should look - it might help you avoid troubles in countries, where they have their own local currency.
Coins can be a bit of trouble. I actually changed my British coins into Euro coins on the ferry from Dover to Callais, France. Probably not the best exchange rare, but still better than having coins in my pocket that would get lost.
I use a fairfx euro card and I pre-load it in the weeks leading up to my holiday. That way I can do it from an app on my phone whenever the rate is good (changes on a daily basis). Withdrawing costs €1.50 (but there are no other charges), so try to do that only once at the start of your holiday. Use the card in shops like a credit/debit card for free. This link gives you a free card (normally £10): https://www.fairfx.com/ref/nujs3
You can typically in hotspots and capitals, but don't, they don't really want the bother.
So they typically overcharge you in Euro to get you to pay in the local currency - it's actually not because they want to fool you.
It's because they're tired of having people come with the wrong currency or not having exchanged their currency.
And hey, if you manage to attract people who don't want to have to deal with the exchange business, who blindly just pay 2-3x the price of a ware, so be it. No one's going to complain.
For sure, but the exchange rates probably will not be so good. Just out of my head I know that at the duty free arrival on Oslo Airport they at least used to accept Euro. In Norway several tourist sites accept euro, just because they have so many tourists with Euro.
In general: Because it is a so common currency used by many, you can use it to pay outside the Euro-zone. Just like the dollar is. But don't count on it. Spend it where you are or save it for the next trip.
I always use Revolut! It has the best exchange rates, you can get money from ATM with their rates (even at the airport!). Helped me a lot throughout my travels. The only bummer is that it's not supported by Apple Pay.
In Germany most banks (if they have foreign exchange fees), charge you a fee abroad (except EU/EEA) even if you pay in Euro. So by converting at the POS with currency conversion you are paying the 1.75% fee and have a horrible exchange rate.
Lol, and you just caught a ROMAN. Yes, Rome is my city. Enjoy it. Credit cards are accepted mostly everywhere, I would keep around 100 € in cash at the most, maybe for restaurants, drinks and tips ;)
I am from Rome but live abroad, miss my city so much. Say hello to her for me. ;)
Marco C. Very true! But ... when you use your credit or debit card at stores or even ATM abroad, they sometimes ask you whether they may convert the amount into your home currency. This would save you the bank fees (in my country it's usually 1.75 %). You'd better say NO! Because the store or ATM would give you a very bad exchange rate which cost you much more than 1.75 %.
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