Exchanging your money into local currency is always going to be a hassle, where there are only two scenarios that are likely to happen: you pay too much for the convenience of it, like having your money changed at the airport; or you get a solid deal but you’ll have to go far for it. There’s also a good chance that you haven’t put into account the possibility of an extra fee or service charge on top of a bad exchange rate, dampening the start of what should be a relaxing vacation.
Below, we share a few handy tips on how you can get a better deal for your money.
Change your currency with your bank
As one of your bank’s trusted clients, you can call and order foreign currency from your bank. Do note that you need to allot some time for your bank to set it up for you, especially if you are requesting for a huge amount of foreign currency or you’re trading your peso into a lesser known currency such as Moroccan dirham or Brazilian real.
Look for reputable currency shops
Most major cities will have a couple of reputable currency houses where you can exchange your money into local currency. Research ahead as some of them might have websites with updated rates, so you can decide on where your money will go. In Hong Kong for example, you can get the best Philippine Peso to Hong Kong Dollar rate at World Wide House in Central or at Chungking Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Withdraw from a local ATM
Some banks will allow you to withdraw from international banks at a minimal fee, which when considered against exchange rates and service charges, might come out cheaper in the end. Call your bank ahead of your departure to inquire if you can do international withdrawals with your bank account.
Consider using your credit card
Before your departure, double check with your bank if they waive foreign currency and transaction fees for credit card charges. Research before the trip to make sure credit cards are also widely accepted in your destination, in malls, hotels, restaurants, and even local markets, as developing countries like Myanmar or Mexico might not be in the habit of accepting credit cards. Finally, when ringing up your purchase at the store, choose to pay in the local currency as this will come out cheaper.
Main Image Credit: Chris Lawton
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