Traveling can be a great adventure and something that you will remember for the rest of your life, but, unfortunately, it can also be expensive.
That is why it is best to know which currencies you will need on your travels and the best way to go about exchanging your money into the local currency.
Unfortunately, many companies are aware that they can make money easily from foreigners who know no better and will simply withdraw money from an ATM without checking the conversion rates or from shops and exchanges where there can be huge fees.
To be money savvy and know what type of places to avoid on your travels, you can save yourself money and focus on making incredible memories.
Avoid Airport Currency Exchanges
One of the worst places to exchange your money is in the airport.
Exchange companies are aware that you are in a rush, panicked, and not thinking clearly. They know that in an airport people tend to prefer convenience over savings—just think of how much you can spend on a bottle of water there!
So, often currency exchange shops and kiosks located in airports will add on insane fees just for exchanging your currency.
Yes, you may need cash when you get to your destination, but often there are ATMs located just outside of the airport offering much better rates than these shops and kiosks inside the airport.
Avoid Kiosks in Tourist Areas
Kiosks draw you in with what may seem like a good deal at first glance, but if you check the actual exchange rate on your phone, then you can see just how bad of a deal you will be getting!
Not only do they offer inferior exchange rates but they will also charge you fees for the service of exchanging your money! So, you are essentially losing money twice over.
What if I Need Money Quickly?
Of course, if you need money quickly and you are in a rush then an airport exchange kiosk might be your best option. However, it would be wise to exchange only what you need until you can find a better exchange.
So, Are Local ATMs the Best Place to Exchange Money?
Of course, this all depends on your bank. Although airports are notoriously the worst place to exchange money, some banks can also be very sneaky.
If they recognize that you have a foreign card, they can offer you a bad exchange rate and charge you exorbitant fees.
Fortunately, these are normally flat-rate fees and not proportional. In this case, it would be a better idea to withdraw a larger sum of money to avoid paying the fee several times over.
Some banks and online providers allow you to exchange currencies for free (often up to a certain monthly or yearly limit), so if you are going to be traveling for a long time then this is a good option to explore before you set out.
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