Planning a trip abroad this summer to take advantage of current exchange rates? Don’t make currency conversion mistakes that could leave money on the table. Use these five simple tips to save money on currency conversion when spending money abroad.
5 Tips for Saving on Currency Conversion for International Travel
If you’ve been following the news, you likely already know that many international destinations are a bargain for American travelers this summer thanks to the relative strength of the dollar. Combined with some great airfare deals from low-cost carriers like Norwegian Airlines, many Americans are flying overseas this year.
If you are planning a trip abroad this summer to take advantage of current exchange rates, you’ll likely get an excellent deal. But don’t leave money on the table by making other mistakes with currency conversion while traveling.
Here are 5 simple tips to save you money on currency conversion when spending money abroad:
- Use a Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee: Many credit cards have significant fees for spending in a foreign currency (1-5% of the transaction charge). Check with your credit card company well in advance of your trip about any fees and consider applying for a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you don’t have one.
- Don’t Exchange for Foreign Currency Before You Go: Many travelers are tempted to exchange money before leaving home for savings or convenience, but the rates are usually terrible. Wait until you get to your destination to make any exchanges.
- Use a Local ATM that Minimizes Fees: Getting cash from a local ATM at your destination is usually the best bet to minimize fees. If you bank with a bank like Citibank that has ATMs in many countries, you’ll save the most. If your home bank doesn’t have international locations, look into whether your bank participates in an alliance or has partners where fees are reduced or waived.
- Make as Few Exchange Transactions as Possible: Withdrawing money from an ATM or exchanging at currency exchange offices often comes with some fixed transaction charges. The more transactions you make at smaller amounts, the more those fees add up. Aim to make only one or two exchanges on your travels per currency needed.
- Spend in Local Currency: Many vendors in international destinations accustomed to seeing large numbers of American tourists will gladly take your dollars (beach destinations in Mexico are well-known for this). You’ll never get a favorable exchange rate this way. Insist on paying in local currency whenever possible.