Change currency to travel is a procedure that always makes us very lazy. We have tried many different options and we almost always get the impression that we lose money. We tell you how and where to exchange currency to travel without losing money along the way.
HOW MUCH MONEY CHANGED CURRENCY FOR THE TRIP?
The million dollar question! In most countries they accept credit cards for almost everything, but you should take enough cash .
The amount obviously depends on the duration of the trip, but also on the destination. Investigate a little if the use of cards is very widespread in the country you will visit . For example, we did not do homework before going to Japan . We assumed that we would not have problems pulling Visa in such a technological country. But we were wrong and we had to withdraw money paying the odious commissions once there. There is no exact formula, but we usually change $ 250 for each week of travel (for both).
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU OFFER ME A GOOD EXCHANGE RATE
Before going on to talk about where to exchange currency, it is very important to be clear about some concepts about currency exchange . So you can compare between different options and see what comes out more on account .
Sale price. It refers to the money they offer you for each euro you exchange. It is what we must take into account when changing currency before going on a trip . The higher, the better.
Purchase price. It refers to the euros they give you when delivering foreign currency. In this case we should look for the lowest purchase price , since for less foreign currency we will receive more euros. You only have to pay attention to the purchase price if you have left over the foreign currency you want to recover .
HOW AND WHERE TO CHANGE CURRENCY BEFORE TRAVELING
To not have to worry about where to exchange currency while we are traveling, we always try to get the foreign currency before leaving on a trip . A headache less 😉We tell you the best places to change currency before leaving on a trip.
Your bank, the most reliable way to change currency
The most practical way to change currency before leaving on a trip is to go to your bank. We are lucky to have a bank office at the Barcelona airport with a window to exchange currency . Most times we go there because being able to change currency at the airport just before taking off is the most practical. In addition, the exchange rate is fair and we offer a repurchase guarantee in case we have money left over . And we do not have to walk with tickets because they discount the amount directly from the bank account.
If you do not have a bank office at your departure airport, you can always go to your usual office to request foreign currency . Do it well in advance (about 10 days) so that the money arrives on time at the office and you can pick it up before leaving.
There are also entities that offer the option to reserve currency online and go to collect the money for the office you prefer after a few days . For example, in BBB, “Request foreign currency” appears in the operations of the account. You just have to select the currency and the amount you want. You can also choose tickets . It is better to take them small to be able to pay everywhere without needing to ask for change.
The only disadvantage is that they only have the major currencies . If you need a minority currency you probably do not have it available at the moment, you have to book a few days in advance and sometimes there is a quantity limit .
Change currency online, a practical alternative
If your bank does not offer the currency you are looking for or want to receive the money directly in your home, you can use the online currency exchange. The big advantage is that they usually offer more variety of currencies than banks . You only have to indicate which currency you want, the amount you want to change, give your data and enter the data of your card. Just like if you made an online purchase . After a few days you will receive the money at home.
Having your tickets sent home may seem a little strange, but it is very practical and completely safe (check your identity before handing over the envelope). If you do not trust, you can always pick up the money in one of the offices of the exchange office and pay on the spot with cash or card.
We have tried Ria Currency Exchange . They usually offer a good exchange rate , similar to that of BBB when we compare it. With the code TRAVELERS you will receive a 5% discount (depending on the currency).
Exchange houses at the airport, a bad place to exchange currency
The most common place to exchange currency is at the airport exchange office. Error! It may be the most comfortable, but it will make you lose money. As much as they sell you that there are no commissions, the exchange rate is usually so bad that it would almost cost more to pay a commission . If you feel obliged to do so, we recommend you change as little as possible so as not to lose a lot of money.
HOW AND WHERE TO CHANGE CURRENCY WHILE YOU ARE TRAVELING
There are destinations with hard currency to find in your country of origin . For example, it has happened to us with the colons of Costa Rica or the rupees of Indonesia . In such cases, you will have to wait to get to the country to get the local currency .
Pay with a card whenever possible
It seems silly, but paying by card is the great solution in these cases. The exchange rate that is applied in operations without physical money is usually better . Although many times they also apply commissions to pay with a card far from home . Generally banks use the exchange rates of the issuer of the card and add a commission. In spite of having a commission, it is more important to pay with a card than to exchange money in a house of exchange (and on top of that it is more comfortable!) .
There are some shops that give you the option to choose between your currency and the local currency on the data phone, while you are paying. Always select the currency of the country where you are . If you choose to pay in euros, they will apply your own exchange rate, which will be worse than your card.
To avoid odious commissions, we use the Revolt card. Although there are a lot of debit or credit cards ideal for traveling .
By the way, remember to extend the limits of your credit or debit card before leaving on a trip . You usually spend more during the holidays and if you get to the top you will have a problem.
Take money out of the ATM, the most practical way to exchange currency abroad
Conventional banks have commissions when using ATM abroad . They go from 3.5% to 4.5% of the amount you take out. They depend on whether the country is of the European Union or not. There is always a minimum commission for operations of less than $ 100. Whether you get $ 30 or if you get$ 90 they will charge you about $ 4 commission. That’s why it ‘s better to get all the money out of the way and not take out small amounts .
There are digital banking entities that allow you to withdraw money abroad without commissions . There is usually a monthly limit, but it is also very practical. As we have said, we use Revolt and we are delighted.
If the cashier offers to do the currency conversion, reject it . You will get a threatening message to convince you to accept. But it is more favorable for your own bank to make the conversion . Despite the commissions that usually exist, we believe that it is more important to withdraw money from the cashier than to go to exchange houses.
Local banks, a good place to exchange foreign currency
Banks are the most reliable place to exchange currency in a foreign country . But of course, it is not a practical option for travelers. Limited hours and language can be a barrier. In addition, you will only find banks where you can exchange currency abroad in large cities. If you have the option to change currency in a bank, take advantage of it. If you have a lot of effort to find a bank branch, the best thing you can do is take money from the ATM .
Local exchange houses, a somewhat cumbersome way to change currency
Exchange houses are the last option to exchange foreign currency. Many times there is the belief that it is more important to change currency at the destination than to do it before leaving . But the truth is that this has never happened to us. The exchange houses are to obtain a benefit in the whole world, they will not give you anything .
You will find an exchange office in all airports. Avoid it , they will apply a very damaging exchange rate for you. It is usually best to take money from an ATM in the same airport. In the center of the cities you can find exchange houses with reasonable rates . But surely you have to compare several before finding the best one. That will take you a while that you may not want to miss while you’re enjoying the holidays. Your hotel may also offer currency exchange, but surely the rate will not be very good.