When you are traveling or planning for an upcoming trip, you want to be sure you get the best exchange rate possible when trading in your money for a new currency. These tips will help ensure that you get the most for your money in every exchange you make!
1. Do Your Research
Before you head to a local bank or ATM to exchange your cash, you should always check what the current exchange rate is. The only way you will know if you are getting the best rate is to know what the base rate is first! You can easily check the exchange rates online using currency converters. These easy to use calculators let you simply enter the currency you have and then set the currency you’d like to exchange for. For example, you could enter AUD to USD and the calculator will instantly tell you the exchange rate. It is especially beneficial to do this numerous times if you are away for a long period of time as the exchange rate may fluctuate. Knowing what the rate is would certainly be your first step toward getting a good, fair exchange rate.
2. Use your ATM Card
If you have access to an ATM machine while you are traveling, it is a good idea to utilize these machines to withdraw cash. ATM’s will almost always give you a better exchange rate than what you would get if you went to a bank to exchange real cash or traveler’s checks. In fact, an ATM may charge you about 2-7% less than a bank! However, keep in mind that the ATM may have fees of its own, charging you transaction fees if you are not a member of the bank. If this is the case, it is best to make one larger withdrawal rather than multiple small ones throughout your trip.
3. Exchange Locations
There are many places that will offer to exchange your money for the local currency. However, you should always look for the most reliable and dependable places to utilize. Banks, post offices and American Express offices tend to give the best exchange rates when you are converting cash or traveler’s checks. These reputable establishments will not try to nickel and dime you, charging excessive fees or falsely advertising their rates. With a government-run business or a large, respected bank, the rates are set and that is the one you will get!
4. Avoid Tourist Spots
While it may seem convenient to get off the airplane and exchange your AUD to USD right in the airport, touristy areas like this are exactly the type of places where you will not get the best exchange rate. Places like train stations, airports and popular tourist destinations will often give you the worst rates as they play on their convenience and then charge you extra. They may advertise a good rate but it only applies to exchanging thousands of dollars. Another trick is to charge a commission on each “item” which means you will be charged per bill you convert. Skip these exchange traps and stick to reputable businesses or government-run conversion programs.
Now that you know where and how to exchange your money, you should be well equipped to find the best rate on your next trip! Remember to convert your budget as well!