Have you been planning to go abroad on a vacation this weekend with your family, but you forgot to exchange your currency? Don’t worry, this happens to most of us. When you consider how much stuff you have to focus on such as packing, driving or plane tickets, renting rooms, etc. it can be hard to remember everything.
If you have no other option than to exchange your money while you are already abroad, you should know that some exchange offices may offer a lot less for your currency than others. It is important that you know how to analyze these offices, their prices and how much money you should exchange. So, if you want to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on some foreign fees that you do not understand, we recommend that you follow our guide about exchanging money for the best outcome.
Here are some things you need to know about exchanging currency.
Check the banks near you
Believe it or not, even when you are hundreds or thousands of miles away from your home, there is a small chance that the same bank that you use is present in the place you are visiting. If you do not manage to find it, try to find a bank that has close connections or collaborations with your own. By doing this you will probably find the lowest possible exchange rate, as banks want to treat their own customers as best as they can.
However, if you do not have any luck with your search, we advise that you find one of the bigger banks in the city. These banks usually have a very low exchange fee or may not have any fees at all.
Try an ATM
In this modern-day and age, you probably didn’t go abroad with thousands of dollars in your suitcase, instead, you carry a credit or debit card with yourself. Fortunately, these little pieces of plastic can actually be used anywhere in the world, if the ATM supports it, of course. Do a quick search on Google or Google Maps about ATMs near your location and check whether they support your bank’s brand or card type. Most cards such as MasterCard or Visa will get accepted without any issues.
When you finally reach the ATM and put in your card, it will automatically exchange your money into the country’s official currency with minimal or no fees.
Do not exchange money at the airport
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they realize they do not have any local currency is to try and exchange money at the airport. Don’t do this as the price and fees at such places can be so high, you will probably lose more than ten dollars at every fifty you change.
The same applies when you are boarding back to your home country. Do not change back the money to dollars as you will lose a lot of money by doing that at an airport. Be patient and do it properly with your local bank at home. If you really don’t feel like having any excess money, then why not just spend it on a couple of drinks during your flight or some dessert?
Keep up with the exchange rates
One of the biggest reasons why a lot of people lose so much cash during conversions is because they are not aware of the current rates. If you want to save a bit of cash for your next vacation, we recommend that you ignore the rates posted up in airports or exchange offices, and you calculate them yourself. You could check with your bank to get real-time information, but if you do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on phone bills, there is another way.
You probably have noticed how investors are constantly converting their money from dollars to euros to pounds and so on. They accurately follow the changes in the current worth of the currency and then convert it at the right moments. They manage to do this with platforms and applications that calculate conversions or use online converters that are available 24/7 such as Mconvert.
After you finally calculate the exchange rates of the two currencies, you can then decide which office to use to finally change your money.
Check with the hotel you are staying at
Sometimes, not everything goes according to plan, especially when you forget that the country you are visiting uses a different type of cash. If you have finally arrived at your hotel, but realize that you do not have a single dime in your pocket, you should talk with the hotel manager to find out if they offer exchange and what are their rates. It might be much more expensive than other options, but if you do not have another choice, it is the best you can get.
It heavily depends on location
Many conversion offices will claim that they are offering you official rates or ones that are regulated by rules of the country, but that is probably not true. They will try to convince you that you should not waste time looking for other offices that have a better offer. Ignore them and first do your own research before you finally accept your fate of paying huge fees.
The truth is that every conversion office is a business, and businesses control how much they are going to charge you for their services because that is simply how they make profits. The government cannot regulate how much a business should or should not profit. Sure, there is some regulation about adding ridiculous amounts of the fee over a small conversion rate, but there is no “official” one that they must follow.
Do a quick walk around the conversion office and check if there are any other places that have a cheaper offer. It is always best that you first confirm what they are telling you is the truth, instead of listening to them and later find out that they were lying to you about their rates.