Everything You Need To Know About Exchanging Money
Money is something that you're going to need on 99% of trips. Whether you're going to a city close by or traveling halfway around the world, everyone needs to pay for things. When in your home country this generally isn't a big issue because you can use your debit/credit card or simply cash. However, when traveling abroad it's often not a good idea to use a debit card, (I try not to use credit cards as well in many places), and in addition to that, you'll likely need a different type of currency to pay for things.
There are a couple of ways you can prepare for this and in this post, I'm going to walk you through some of the ways you can exchange your money and use your credit/debit card more safely. First, let's talk about some of the options using physical cash.
1. Exchanging Money At Your Bank
This is generally one of the better options as many banks offer foreign currencies with favorable conversion rates. I personally bank with Chase and they offer every currency I need for my world trip except for one. This can also represent great value over exchanging at the airport and many other places, (Travelex, Bankrate, etc.), because there is usually no fee or a substantially smaller fee than other companies charge.
2. At The Airport
The second option that many travelers do is exchange their money at the airport via Travelex. I highly recommend not doing this. While it is convenient, there is a fee if you don't exchange over a certain amount and even if you do exchange a lot of money you will likely pay a very high exchange rate.
3. Get It From an ATM
Another good way to take out money internationally is to simply use an ATM. This is usually a more favorable rate than exchanging outside of a bank and the fees are generally minimal.
There are many more ways you could go about exchanging physical cash, but I thought I would highlight two of the ways I consider to be best along with what not to do. Now let's talk about using credit and debit abroad.
1. Not Using Cards At All
This is the option I try to strive for when traveling to countries where scams and credit card fraud are of much higher risk. For example, I'd feel a lot better using a credit card to pay for something in London than I would in Mexico City. A golden rule is to never use your debit card abroad unless you are absolutely sure the merchant won't be doing any funny business.
2. Just Using Credit Cards
The nice thing about credit cards is that many offer zero-liability policies that ensure you won't be held accountable for funds that are taken if your information is compromised or your card is stolen. This allows for safer use and more peace of mind when traveling. Still, replacing a card is no fun and no one wants to have their credit card stolen on vacation. For those reasons I recommend only using your credit card at safer places such as the airport, your hotel, a reputable store, and reserve cash for all the other places you need to spend money.
I hope this helped give insight on the best ways to exchange money for your next trip!